Business & Finance

History Behind Wall Street

The History Behind Wall Street

We have all heard of Wall Street, and surely have knowledge of what it is. If not, I will give you the basic rundown real quick. Wall Street is the financial district of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It’s 8 blocks long. There is a lot of history in Wall Street, and even people like Andrew Napolitano find it fascinating. Do you know about the history of Wall Street?

Wall Street has been the headquarters of the biggest US brokerages, and investment banks for many years. It is also the home of the New York Stock Exchange. It is literally one of the most important real estate areas in the world, but it all started from nothing.

Back when Manhattan was owned by the Dutch, they built a wooden wall to keep England from attacking them. It’s possible that this is how it got its name, because of the large, long wall that they saw when they came to it. The early settlers of Manhattan were known as Wall, and hence the entrance into their settlement became known as Wall Street.

It’s history as a financial center sadly started with slavery. This helped establish it as a financial center, but it didn’t make headlines for being great, or the best. Which for obvious reasons, was not the best either. It did pave a way for it to begin to shape up as a financial center though.

In the late 18th century they came up with the Buttonwood Agreement, which is where they would meet to do their trades, and make a percentage of commission. This was a power play where they could meet, and do this at, to keep the government from interfering.

The Buttonwood Agreement got its name from the Buttonwood tree they would set up shop at (when the weather permitted). It’s location was 68 Wall Street. This agreement allowed them to have a more structured, formalized exchange, which of course also meant that they were more profitable.

Having a designated meeting spot allowed them safety. Being able to make these exchanges in a formal, well organized way is surely preferred. It also helped kick off the start limiting trades, and exchanges, to registered brokers. This was another great thing that came from the Buttonwood Agreement.
All of this laid the foundation for the Wall Street that we know today. It’s the financial center parkway for us here in the US, and is known around the world for its business exchanges. The history that led up to Wall Street becoming how it is, is its own story, and is pretty neat to think about. Andrew Napolitano agrees that the history of how Wall Street came to be is pretty interesting to read about. I bet they didn’t know how much it would matter, and how big it would actually become when they started it up. They set the foundation for this large business financial area, and it’s just really amazing when you stop and think about it.