According to Hummel writers who have created the traditional interpretation of the Jacksonian war on the Bank, which blames Jackson and his supporters for the ensuing inflation, have at the core of their analysis an economic theory known as the sound banking doctrine. He explains:
Banks have always issued more notes or depositTo be continued in Part II.
liabilities than they have monetary reserves to
cover. This process is called fractional reserve
banking, and through it, banks create money.
Thus, an ante-bellum bank which issued $1000
in notes with only $100 in specie (gold or silver
bullion and coin) as reserves in its vault, had
created $900 and had a reserve ratio of 10%.
The sound banking doctrine holds that fraction-
al reserve banking is necessary and beneficial
for a prosperous economy. There are insuffici-
ent quantities of gold and silver in existence to
satisfy monetary needs. Money creation by
banks is a needed service. However, monetary
creation can go too far. Banks will overissue
their notes and deposits and reduce their
reserve ratios to dangerous levels if governed
solely by the banker's desire for profit. That leads
to inflation, economic instability, and wildcat
banking. People will drown in a deluge of
unbacked paper money. Therefore, external
checks are necessary to insure that fractional
reserve banking stays within certain limits and
that reserve ratios stay at certain levels, and
government must provide the checks. It can be
seen that this doctrine occupies the middle
ground between the extremes of hard money on
the one hand, and inflationary banking or fiat
money on the other.