History of the Stock Exchange

If you mention stocks or the stock exchange, most people today know what you are referring to, even if they do not deal in stocks themselves or trade. The New York Stock Exchange has a long and rich history with a birth that began in the mid 1700’s. In the late 1700’s, the United States began looking for ways to increase investments, boost the economy, and engage people. 1792, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) acquired its first traded securities and the now global giant was born.

The Birth of the NYSE

The 24 brokers who signed the trade securities agreement, thus becoming the first NYSE members, were:

Leonard Bleecker Hugh Smith
Armstrong & Barnewall Samuel March
Bernard Hart Alexander Zuntz
Andrew D. Barclay Sutton & Hardy
Benjamin Seixas John Henry
John A. Hardenbrook Samuel Beebe
Benjamin Winthrop John Ferrers
Ephraim Hart Isaac M. Gomez
Gulian McEvers Augustine H. Lawrence
G. N. Bleecker John Bush
Peter Anspach Charles McEvers, Jr.
David Reedy Robinson & Hartshorne

The Stock Exchange Grows

These were the individuals who birthed a revolutionary giant that would soon come to be the global leader of the financial world. But it was just the beginning. The Buttonwood Agreement, which oversaw the growth and expansion of the exchange, is so named because it was a Buttonwood Tree that served as the regular meeting place for the brokers of Wall Street and the stock exchange. The signers of the Buttonwood Agreement drafted their first constitution on March 8th, 1817, and named their nascent organization the New York Stock & Exchange Board. Later that same year, the final constitution of the New York Stock and Exchange Board was adopted, which was established to set parameters that governed the stock exchange and the legal and financial limits of the exchange.

Bringing Up the Modern Age

It was during this time in the NYSE history when the idea of privately owned stocks began to take hold, but they were not yet easily attainable for non-business or corporations. In 1896, the official reports of the stock exchange were first published in The Wall Street Journal, which was the final push needed to move the exchange into the mainstream market where everyday private investors began to learn the ins and outs of how the market worked. In 1903, the stock market began to really take off as a mainstream line of investment and the NYSE moves into new quarters, located at 18 Broad Street. From that time on, private investments into the stock exchange grew and grew until is became the giant that it is today. The future looks bright and today, anyone who is anything in the business market is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and it continues to be a symbol for global finance and excellence.

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