Under a growing button tree,
The town brokers stood up;
Brokers, the strongest group you see,
They would exchange everything they could;
They soon developed commission fees
It was great for brokers.
This may not be what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would have thought of as the output of the poem “The Blacksmith Village”; but the story of how the New York Stock Exchange began reminded me of his famous verse. The formation of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) came about when the 24 most important brokers and speculators in the United States came together and reached an agreement.
They were said to have come together under a “Buttonwood” tree to conceptualize the vision that marked the beginnings of the Wall Street investment community. Some cynics would say that this account is far from over; but by all accounts, that was the case.
Where exactly was that tree button? Under the leadership of Governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1653, the Dutch settlers stood next to a 12-foot-tall wooden wall to protect Lenape from the Lenape Indians, New England settlers, and the British. At the same time, a street was built on the side wall of the town. This street was called Wall Street.
Over the years, the attacks, feared, were never carried out, and the thick wooden walls began to deteriorate. Eventually, citizens and farmers began throwing walls at the boards for building materials or making wood. The wall completely disappeared in 1699, but the street retained the name “Wall Street.” However, it will still take more than a hundred years for financial markets to call Wall Street their birthplace.
So what prompted these 24 famous brokers, speculators, and traders to come together under that “buttonwood” tree in 1792? The catalyst seemed to come at the end of the Revolutionary War when the first stock certificates were negotiated in the United States. The soldiers and merchants who took part in the war began in 1790 to recover the script sent to them by the Federal Government during the war.
The creation of the investment market was marked by these first issues of publicly traded securities. These spectacular entrepreneurs wanted to be involved in this new and probably profitable business. Then, at that famous meeting under the “buttonwood” tree in 1792, they agreed to sell the securities as private transactions in their private institution and charge commissions for the transactions. This was known as the “Buttonwood Agreement.”
Initially, brokers did their business from the Tontine Café on Wall Street because they had no headquarters; and they had no name for their organization. However, this group would be known as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
At the same time, the government created the first bank, the Bank of New York. In fact, the first corporate share traded by Brokers of the Tree was the Bank of New York. It was also the first company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The formal organization was founded in 1817 and named the New York Stock & Exchange Board. At 68 Wall Street they soon developed a set of rules and a constitution, on March 8, 1817, for business. It was not until 1863 that the name was shortened to the New York Stock Exchange.
Membership of the NYSE since 1868 is considered a valuable asset. Currently, they have to buy seats that could be members with the number 1,366.
Today, Wall Street has become a “pedestrian” street. On this street in Federal Hall, President George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789. At the exact site of the inauguration is a statue of Washington, which was erected in 1842. The first U.S. Customs House. There’s a good view of the NYSE from Washington state, which is on Broad Street, not Wall Street. However, what stands out in the NYSE building are the carved Corinthian figures and columns, which have become a universal symbol of U.S. trade and finance.
The NYSE has come a long way since it signed the “Buttonwood Agreement” in 1792. Here billions of dollars change hands every day. The New York Stock Exchange, from its humble beginnings, has become the center of the world of financial transactions and the largest stock market. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.
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