Langdon Cheves

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Langdon Cheves (1776–1857) was an American politician and banker.

He was born in Abbeville County, South Carolina. He study law and joined the bar in 1797. Living in Charleston, he quickly emerged as a talented and bright attorney. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1810 as a republican "War Hawk."

He ran for three terms in the House. During the War of 1812, he served as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In 1814, he was elected Speaker of the House. He served in this capacity until the end of the war, resigning from the House in March of 1815. While Speaker, he cast the deciding vote against Alexander J. Dallas's Second Bank of the United States bill. Following Cheves's retirement, the bill was re-submitted in the 1816 session and passed.

Moving back to South Carolina, Cheves was appointed to the South Carolina Superior Court and held this position until 1819.

During the Panic of 1819, the fraud and embezzlement scheme of the directors of the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank of the United States was exposed. As a result, bank president William Jones resigned. President James Monroe lobbied and pressured the other bank directors to accept Cheves as the new president.

Cheves pursued a policy of sound money and retrenchment. He cut expenses by reducing salaries and other costs. He tightened credit. And redeemed all state banknotes in the bank possession. This forced the state banks to maintain specie reserves which, in turn, forced them to tighten credit. These bank policies restored order after the panic, but severely hurt debtors.

Cheves sat as bank president until 1822. When he resigned, Nicholas Biddle took over.