The “Crisis” of 1834 had little effect on coinage as mintage numbers soared, even for this half-dime that had recently come back into circulation a short five years earlier, after its mysterious disappearance for twenty years. The crisis, caused by Andrew Jackson defunding and withdrawing federal notes from the Second Bank of the United States, had very little effect on the booming economy as well, but it did deregulate the banking system. Regardless of the immediate impact, congress still censured or formally warned President Jackson in an effort to dissuade him from defunding other banks. It is likely that Jackson perceived these actions as acceptable since he had little opposition the first time he defunded a bank, specifically Hamilton’s National Bank. Congress was certainly not behind this second attempt, even before the “crisis” report had gotten to them but they figured it may have a more lasting impact, which it did in fact once 1837 hit.
Most large cities didn’t even notice the banking deregulation, including Philadelphia where the entire capped bust half-dime series was minted. This great city was however weakened by the continuous inter-city violence from 1830 to 1840, also known as the Decade of Riots. Tension was high during this time period due to overpopulation from mass immigration, which catalyzed the creation of the Nativist Party. The party’s platform revolved around the ideas of tighter immigration laws, elongating naturalization periods, and barring foreigners from public office. The conditions were right, it seems, because the Nativists gained support quickly, especially in the city, which created even more tension. By the 1830s this tension had bubbled over into violence as several riots began across the city frequently and feverously. One such riot, that occurred the same year this coin was minted- 1834, dubbed the “Flying Horse” riot started on August 11th when African-Americans and White-Americans dueled over horses on a merry-go-round. From this simple childish act the rumor that African-Americans had disrespected White-Americans ran rampant and escalated the situation further. By August 12th the rioters destroyed the carousal, on the 13th they moved to African-American businesses and taverns, by the final day August 14th, rioters attacked African-American homes and threatened their lives. City officials eventually calmed these riots by the end of the 14th, but this was just the beginning of what would turn into a national issue by 1865.