History of money and banking in the United States
- For the collection by Murray Rothbard, see A History of Money and Banking in the United States.
In the British colonies of North America, the local governments pushed for paper notes with legal tender privileges. The first to do so was the province of Massachusetts (also a first in price controls) in 1690, after a failed raid against French Quebec. It paid off its soldiers with paper notes and pledged to redeem them out of taxes soon and that no more notes would be ever printed. Both promises were quickly broken.
This practice was replicated in five other colonies before 1711, and eventually spread to all British colonies. The merchants forced to accept the rapidly depreciating paper notes complained to the British Parliament, which first limited and in 1764 prohibited the issue of any legal-tender paper in all colonies. To some, this might have been one of the roots of the American revolution.
One of the first actions of the Continental Congress in 1775 was to authorize the printing of paper money - the famous Continentals (from the later phrase "not worth a continental"). When Congress first began printing bills of credit, the idea was that the states would levy taxes and collect the bills in payment of the taxes, thereby retiring them. Not only did the states not levy those taxes, but they also began printing paper money of their own. The result was that more and more paper continued to be printed, leading in turn to a level of depreciation that has become legendary. In Rhode Island, sources tell of creditors "leaping from rear windows of their houses or hiding themselves in their attics" in order to avoid debtors. The most vulnerable in society also felt its effects, with widows and orphans finding the guardians of their trust funds paying them in currency that was worth but a fraction of its face value. Those who refused to accept the money were blamed for all economic ills, as misers, traitors, forestallers, and enemies of liberty.
After Washington's army nearly starved near Valley Forge (complaining "a wagon-load of money will scarcely purchase a wagon-load of provisions"), and attempts to control the prices failed, the Congress recommended to the states "to repeal or suspend all laws or resolutions ... limiting, regulating or restraining the Price of any Article, Manufacture or Commodity." Afterwards, the army was well provided for.
Early history of the United States
Banks began to set up under the separate legal systems of the various States. The usual procedure was to apply for a charter which gave the privilege of limited liability, in very few States were set up unchartered banks with unlimited liability. In most States deposit banking and note issue required special legal authorisation. How easy was this charter obtained varied from State to State. The most liberal policy was in New England and especially in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In New York already established banks seem to have persuaded the legislature to refuse to grant charters to new competitors; and there was an increasing tendency to restrictions in the south and west.
After winning independence, the opponents of inflation have been for long successful. The "founding fathers" strove to avoid paper money, and using anything but gold and silver as legal tender was even forbidden in the constitution. The power to coin money was given to the federal government, not the states.
The first central bank lasted from 1792 to 1812. To finance the war of 1812–14 with Britain, the federal government issued legal-tender treasury notes and a second bank was founded in 1816. Before the war, the States were thinly populated and mostly agricultural. The foreign and shipping trade was long stimulated by the Anglo-French Wars and as a neutral the exports were welcome by all sides of the conflict. The foreign trade was drastically curtailed with the Embargo and the Non-Intercourse Acts, and the war itself. On the other hand, war conditions spurred the growth of domestic manufactures for goods supplied before by Great Britain. Banks in New England were conservative and gave little support to the war, but other banks rapidly expanded their notes and eagerly lent to the government. The government allowed the suspension of payments in 1814 and the number of banks rose dramatically. Price increases followed.
Peace brought new problems and opportunities. Imports increased and war-grown manufactures, especially textiles, suddenly had to face the onrush of foreign competition. Foreign trade increased, but not to pre-war levels. The continued monetary expansion led to a boom in real estate prices and speculation, and rapidly growing indebtedness by farmers. The Second Bank of the United States was authorized by Congress to solve the monetary problems and provide a sound and uniform currency. Instead, it has continued and enhanced the expansion. The boom continued for a while, but the banks were soon having problems with the return to specie payments. The Second Bank started a painful contraction and a wave of bankruptcies followed, known as the Panic of 1819. States attempted to drive the branches of the Second Bank from their jurisdictions with various measures, including taxation. The issue was resolved by the landmark decision M’Culloch v. Maryland, in which the Supreme Court declared that "states have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control" the operations of a federally created entity, such as the Second Bank.
Specie payments were suspended from August 1814 to February 1817. For two and a half years could banks expand while issuing what was in effect fiat paper and bank deposits. From then on, every time there was a banking crisis brought on by inflationary expansion and demands for redemption in specie, state and federal governments looked the other way and permitted general suspension of specie payments while bank operations continued to flourish. It became clear to the banks that in a general crisis they would not be required to meet the ordinary obligations of contract law or of respect for property rights, so their inflationary expansion was permanently encouraged by this massive failure of government to fulfill its obligation to enforce contracts and defend the rights of property.
In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson ended his popular campaign against the Second Bank by refusing to extend its charter, withdrew all public funds from private or state (fractional-reserve) banks, and cut down the public debt from some $60 million at the beginning of his administration to a mere $33,733.05 on January 1, 1835. His successors neutralized these reforms to some extent, especially by bringing the public debt back to more than $60 million within fifteen years of the end of the second Jackson administration.
For a long time, foreign coins of gold and silver circulated freely, in general use were Spanish, English, and Austrian gold and silver pieces. Finally, Congress outlawed the use of foreign coins by the Coinage Act of 1857, forcing all foreign coinholders to go to the U.S. Mint and obtain American gold coins. The US coins were on a bimetallic standard. In 1792, the Congress decreed the exchange rate between gold and silver to be 1 to 15, but the market rate was 1 to 15.5, so after a few years the artificially undervalued gold disappeared from circulation (see Gresham's Law). In 1834 was the exchange ratio fixed at 1 to 16, and the entire silver currency was replaced with a gold one. Some people derived great profits from helping Americans exchanging gold for silver, and fractional-reserve banking benefited from the artificial deflation.
The Civil War
The breakthrough for proponents of inflation came with Abraham Lincoln and the War Between the States. To finance it, the federal government issued a legal tender paper money with the Legal Tender Act of 1862, the so-called greenbacks. The greenbacks could be a substitute for gold or silver payments everywhere - only California made an exception. This experiment ended in 1875, when the government turned the greenbacks into credit money, by announcing that as from 1879 they would be redeemed into gold. Meanwhile, in 1863–65, the Lincoln administration had created a new system of privileged "national banks" that were authorized to issue notes backed by federal government debt, while the notes of all other banks were penalized by a 10 percent federal tax. As a consequence was American banking centralized around the privileged national banks. Banks were expected to convert to the new system. When this failed, Congress placed a high tax on state banks’ circulating notes in an attempt to drive them out of business. The state banks adjusted and shifted from issuing circulating notes to taking deposits and offering checking accounts.
By 1866, it was clear that the national banking system had replaced the state as the center of the monetary system of the United States. The number of state banks fell from 1,466 in 1863 to 297 in 1866. The number of national banks grew in that same period, from 66 in 1863 to 1,634 three years later. Total notes and deposits in state banks fell from $733 million in 1863 to only $101 million in 1866. In 1865, state bank notes had totaled $142.9 million; by 1866 they had collapsed to $20 million. National bank notes grew from a mere $31.2 million in 1864, to $276 million in 1866.
In order to survive, the state banks had to keep deposit accounts at national banks, from whom they could "buy" national bank notes in order to redeem their deposits. The state banks became the fourth layer of the national pyramid of money and credit. The multi-layered structure of bank inflation under the national banking system was intensified. In this new structure, the state banks began to flourish. By 1873, the total number of state banks had increased to 1,330, and their total deposits were $789 million.
The national banking system was only halfway between free banking and government central banking, and by the end of the 19th century, the Wall Street banks were becoming increasingly unhappy with the status quo.There was no central bank to coordinate inflation, and to bail out banks in trouble as the lender of last resort. As soon as bank credit generated booms, then they got into trouble; bank-created booms turned into recessions, with banks forced to contract their loans and assets and to deflate in order to save themselves. Not only that, but after the initial shock of the National Banking Acts, state banks had grown rapidly by pyramiding their loans and demand deposits on top of national bank notes. The big banks complained, that the national banking system did not provide for the proper "elasticity" of the money supply; that is, they were not able to expand money and credit as much as they wished, particularly in times of recession. In short, the national banking system did not provide sufficient room for inflationary expansions of credit by the nation’s banks.
By the turn of the century the political economy of the United States was dominated by two generally clashing financial aggregations: the previously dominant Morgan group, which began in investment banking and then expanded into commercial banking, railroads, and mergers of manufacturing firms; and the Rockefeller forces, which began in oil refining and then moved into commercial banking, finally forming an alliance with the Kuhn, Loeb Company in investment banking and the Harriman interests in railroads. Although these two financial blocs usually clashed with each other, they were as one on the need for a central bank. Attempts to use the Treasury as a central bank have failed, as evidenced by the Panic of 1907.
In 1913, the American banking system received a central bank on the European model, the Federal Reserve. The U.S. was the last great nation to introduce central banking.
From the Federal Reserve to the Great Depression
The Federal Reserve System was deliberately designed to create and control inflation. Only the Federal Reserve Banks could print paper notes, the member banks would buy them from the Fed by drawing down deposit accounts at the Fed. The different reserve requirements for central reserve city, reserve city, and country banks were preserved, but the Fed was now the single base of the entire banking pyramid. Gold was centralized at the Fed, and the Fed could pyramid on top of it. (The reserve requirements were 35 percent of total demand deposits/gold, and 40 percent of its notes/gold.) All national banks were forced to become members of the Federal Reserve System, state banks had a choice. But in order to get cash for their customers, nonmembers had to keep deposit accounts with member banks who had access to the Fed and so were under control as well.
At the founding of the Fed in 1913, the most important single item of paper money in circulation was the gold certificate, held by the Fed and backed 100 percent by gold assets in the Treasury. But in a few years, the Fed started withdrawing gold certificates from circulation and substituting Federal Reserve Notes. But since the FRN only had to be backed 40 percent by gold certificates, 60 percent of the released gold was available as a base on which to pyramid more bank money.
The average reserve requirement of all banks before the establishment of the Fed was 21.1 percent. Under the provisions of the original Federal Reserve Act in 1913, this requirement was cut to 11.6 percent, and to 9.8 percent in June 1917. As a result has the Fed doubled the money supply from its inception at the end of 1913 until the end of 1919. Also, the reserve requirements on the time deposits in commercial banks (deposits, that could be withdrawn only after a certain time period) were drastically lowered from the original 21.1 to 5 percent, and in 1917 to 3 percent. As a result, banks encouraged their depositors to transfer their funds to savings accounts, to have a larger basis for credit expansion.
From June 1914 to January 1920, when demand deposits grew by 96.9 percent, time deposits rose by 126.1 percent. In the great boom of the 1920s, that started after the recession of 1920–21 (a short recession, thanks to the budget cutting and lowering of taxes by Warren Harding), total demand deposits rose from 1921 to 1929 by 36.5 percent. Time deposits in banks expanded in the same period by 75.9 percent. The great boom of the 1920s (also called "Roaring Twenties") was largely fueled by credit expansion going into time deposits. The greatest expansion of time deposits came in Central Reserve Cities (New York and Chicago), where the Fed’s open market operations were all conducted, as opposed to Reserve Cities and Country Banks. As acknowledged by Federal Reserve officials, time or savings deposits were then, for all practical purposes, equivalent to demand deposits and should be paid on demand in case of a run on a bank.
With the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, President Wilson appointed Benjamin Strong to the most powerful post in the Federal Reserve System, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He made quickly this position dominant in the System and decided on Fed policy without consulting or even against the wishes of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. Strong was the dominant leader of the Fed from 1914 until his death in 1928. He pursued an inflationary policy, to finance the war effort for WWI, connected to the interests of the House of Morgan. Another motivation was the attempt to prop up the Bank of England in the 1920s, when it returned to the gold standard with an overvalued pound. To prevent the loss of gold to the States, its governor Montagu Norman secretly convinced Strong to inflate in order to help England. The expansion ended only after Strong's death and the Great Depression followed soon after. In 1928 Strong admitted that "very few people indeed realized that we were now paying the penalty for the decision which was reached early in 1924 to help the rest of the world back to a sound financial and monetary basis" - that is, to help Britain maintain a phony and inflationary form of gold standard.
The inflation was also motivated by a desire to help American exporters (particularly farmers), by stimulation of foreign lending. At the same time the U.S. turned to a sharp protectionist policy with the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922. In the foreign lending boom, other countries were hampered in trying to sell their goods to the United States, but were encouraged to borrow dollars. The government did not have any peacetime authority to interfere with loans, but did so illegally. In 1921, President Harding and his cabinet conferred with several American investment bankers, at the instigation of Secretary of Commerce Hoover, to be informed in advance of foreign loans, so that the government "might express itself regarding them". The bankers agreed. Hoover commented that even bad loans helped American exports and provided a cheap form of relief and employment. Later Hoover demanded from bankers, that foreign loans would be inspected by agents of the Department of Commerce. Both requests were mostly ignored. While admitted to be legally unenforceable, it was all in the name of "national interests".
- Main article: Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve was supposed to protect the monetary and financial system against inflation and violent swings. The value of the dollar has rapidly declined since Fed's founding. The goods and service bought for $1 in 1913, would be currently (2009) bought for $21.80 - falling to $0.05 of its value. In other words, over 95% of the dollar has been inflated away. As for the business cycle and the abolition of panics, recessions of the 20th century as documented by the National Bureau of Economic Research include: 1918–1919, 1920–1921, 1923–1924, 1926–1927, 1929–1933, 1937–1938, 1945, 1948–1949, 1953–1954, 1957–1958, 1960–1961, 1969–1970, 1973–1975, 1980, 1981–1982, 1990–1991, 2001, and 2007 to the present.
Since World War I., the agricultural sector has received subsidized loans through the Federal Farm Loan System and regulations to benefit the emerging farm bloc soon followed. The War Finance Corporation has after war concentrated on bailing out country banks, that loaned to farmers, later it was allowed to lend directly. The Agricultural Credits Act of 1923 established a vast system of Federal farm credit.
In early 1920s, the farmers tried to keep prices high through voluntary methods. Farm organizations would hold wheat and cotton off the market and reduce acreage. While sales in some states declined, prices also continued to fall. Local efforts failed as the efforts toward nationwide cartels, voluntary price fixing did not work. Government support of prices was called for. While President Coolidge blocked some of the measures, he firmly believed that government "must encourage orderly and centralized marketing" in agriculture.
The Great Depression
- Main article: Great Depression
The great boom of the 1920s began around July, 1921, after a year or more of sharp recession, and ended about July, 1929, when the production and business activity began to decline, although the famous stock market crash came in October of that year. Herber Hoover, an avid proponent of interventionism became President. Characteristic for him were "voluntary" measures that the government desired, with the implicit threat that if business did not "volunteer" properly, compulsory controls would soon follow.
After the stock-market crash, Hoover began a series of conferences with big business and labor leaders, telling them that cutting wage rates (the standard response in previous depressions) would be disastrous, because then the workers wouldn't make enough to buy the products. This "liquidation" of labor would only deepen the depression. Leading industrialists have pledged to maintain wage rates, expand construction, and share any reduced work. At the same time, the Federal Reserve expanded rapidly and lowered its interest rates. Its member banks expanded their deposits in the last week of October 1929 alone by 10%, mostly in New York. Hoover praised the Fed for the saving of shaky banks and restoring confidence. The depression should be over in a few months. A large public works program was also initiated.
Hoover promised the farm bloc to support farm cooperatives and prices and established the Federal Farm Board (FFB). It would make all-purpose loans to farm cooperatives at low interest rates and establish "stabilization corporations" to control farm surpluses and bolster farm prices. Its board was dominated by representatives of these farm cooperatives. To combat falling prices, it made loans to farmers to keep wheat and cotton off the market and later started to buy the surpluses. For a while, prices were held up and farmers increased production, only to find that prices would fall even more. As America held wheat off the market, it lost its former share of the world’s wheat trade. The farmers were urged to decrease their acreage, while the government still promoted reclamation projects to increase farm production. The surpluses of wheat accumulated and prices fell to such a degree, that the FFB decided to dump wheat stocks abroad, resulting in a drastic fall in market prices. The attempts to keep up the price of cotton, wool, livestock, etc. failed as well. A "Farm Holiday" was declared to stop production, The movement soon turned to violence and failed to stop the falling farm prices. but succeeded to avoid some foreclosures of its members.
In 1930, the Smoot–Hawley Tariff was passed, despite objections of many economists and industrial leaders. Hoover originated a higher tariff on agricultural products to help farmers, but it was raised on many other products. Many other countries have retaliated with their own tariffs and foreign trade declined significantly. (From 1929 to 1932, U.S. imports from Europe decreased from $1,334 million to just $390 million, while U.S. exports to Europe decreased from $2,341 million to $784 million. Overall, world trade decreased by some 66% between 1929 and 1934.) Also, to relieve the unemployment problem, and to help keep wage rates up, the President effectively banned further immigration into the United States.
In Europe, the crisis began in earnest with the Boden–Kredit Anstalt, the most important bank in Austria and Eastern Europe. It had to merge with the Oesterreichische–Kredit–Anstalt after rescue attempts by its government and other banks. When Austria declared a customs union with Germany in March 1931, the French government feared this development and several French banks suddenly insisted on redemption of their debts from both countries. The bank collapsed. After more rescue attempts has the Austrian Government voted a $150 million guarantee to the bank, but the its credit was by the time worthless, and Austria soon declared national bankruptcy by going off the gold standard. Later, Germany, England, and most other European countries renounced their obligations and went off the gold standard as well. While the impact on United States was not very large due to the lowered international trade, it certainly did not help, neither did the many loans granted to prop up foreign banks.
The crisis worsened in the US in 1931. Production continued to fall drastically, as did prices and foreign trade, and unemployment ran up to almost 16 percent of the labor force. The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) index of manufacturing production, which had been 110 in 1929 and 90 in 1930, fell to 75 in 1931. Hardest hit, in accordance with Austrian cycle theory, were producers’ goods and higher order capital goods industries, rather than the consumer goods’ industries. Despite attempts to inflate, bank deposits and the aggregate money supply fell sharply, particularly at the end of the year. The British abandoning of the gold standard, bank failures abroad and the growing number of failures at home, caused a growing loss of confidence by Americans in their banking system. The wages were also beginning to fall, first secretly, then openly by the end of 1931.
The gross national product fell from $91.1 billion in 1930, to $76.3 billion in 1931. Total government receipts fell from $13.5 billion to $12.4 billion, but total government expenditures rose from $13.9 billion to $15.2 billion, in federal, rather than state and local, spending (federal expenditures rose from $4.2 billion in 1930 to $5.5 billion in 1931). In the middle of a great depression when people needed to be relieved of governmental burdens, the dead weight of government rose from 16.4 percent to 21.5 percent of the gross private product. From a modest surplus in 1930, the Federal government so ran up a huge $2.2 billion deficit in 1931.
Direct relief was just about the one sphere where President Hoover seemed to prefer voluntary to governmental action. The Red Cross opposed a bill, in early 1931, that would grant it $25 million for relief, declaring that it would "to a large extent destroy voluntary giving". Many private charity organizations, philanthropists, and social workers had the same views. Governmental unemployment relief was seen to have a role in creating and perpetuating unemployment in Britain (the "dole"). It was attacked by many business leaders, including Henry Ford, the leaders of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, and former President Coolidge.
Nominal paychecks fell much more slowly during the early years of the Great Depression than the general price level (wholesale prices fell by 10 percent in 1930, by 15 percent in 1931) - and those who kept their job experienced a higher increase in real (inflation-adjusted) wages, than during the Roaring 1920s! And so has unemployment reached record highs during Hoover's first and only term. When FDR went back on the US government's promise to redeem dollars for gold, the Federal Reserve could flood the economy with new dollars, the prices began to rise again. Because wage rates were not allowed to fall to their new, market-clearing level, inflating the currency has paradoxically reduced unemployment.
As the Depression got worse and people lost their confidence in the banks, they decided to take custody of their cash. Seeing people in large numbers pulling their money out of banks — money the banks had promised to provide on demand — President Hoover, in 1932, blasted them for their "traitorous hoarding." He organized an antihoarding drive and delivered a radio address (transcript, pdf) in which he pleaded with the public to stop hoarding (i.e., to stop converting their bank deposits into cash).
The Fed has expanded bank reserves in the 1930s. Panicking at the inflationary potential, it doubled the minimum reserve requirements to 20 percent in 1938, sending the economy into a tailspin of credit liquidation. The Fed, ever since that period, has been very cautious about the degree of its changes and changed bank reserve requirements fairly often, but in very small steps, by fractions of one percent.
After 1933, Federal Reserve Notes and deposits were no longer redeemable in gold coins to Americans, their gold was confiscated and exchanged for Federal Reserve Notes, which became legal tender; and Americans were stuck in a regime of fiat paper issued by the government and the Federal Reserve.
It was widely believed during the latter part of World War II that substantial unemployment would develop after the war. However, unemployment rates remained below four percent, far below the normal peacetime rate in the twentieth century, either before or after 1946. The substantial price controls which were in effect in 1944, were essentially abandoned by 1947.
By the end of the first quarter of 1946, the process of reconversion was largely completed. Nearly seven million persons had left the armed forces, and government spending had fallen well over 90 percent of the way from the wartime peak to what would be the postwar low in 1947.
The federal budget deficit on a national income accounts basis in 1944 was some $54.5 billion, equal to 25.8 percent of GNP. That would be the equivalent in 1990 (in relation to GNP) of a deficit of about $1,400 billion, or 5.7 percent of GNP. By 1947, the federal budget was in surplus by $13.4 billion, or 5.7 percent of GNP. The equivalent would be well over a $300 billion surplus. Among other things, the government in pursuing this extraordinary contractionary fiscal policy fired roughly 20 percent of the total labor force. All of this had little impact on unemployment.
The prices rose during the war (1941-1946) by an estimated 46 percent. By contrast, the prices rose an estimated 13 percent from 1945 to 1948, which is still a substantial inflation rate, but far less than during the war.
In 1946, all federal price controls had been lifted except on meat, and as a result, meat was in increasingly short supply, including meat-derived products, like insulin. The shortage passed after the controls were abolished.
Years of boom and bust
In the postwar years 1946-1950, the average annual rate of M2 growth over the fifteen-year period was 3.3 percent. In the 1950s, the rate of growth of M2 averaged 3.6 percent per year. At the early stages of recovery in the 1950s, the Federal Reserve, overly sensitive to inflationary dangers, aborted recoveries.
In the 1960s, the Kennedy administration started pressuring the Fed to ease monetary policy, even threatening to terminate its independent status if it did not acquiesce. Despite some initial foot-dragging and repeated caveats that the Fed would only finance real economic growth and not budget deficits, Fed Chairman Martin ultimately capitulated to the insistent demands of Kennedy and the new economists for a cheap-money policy. In fact, in February 1961, the Fed abandoned its long-standing "bills-only doctrine," which dictated that open market operations be conducted exclusively in the market for short-term securities.
In the three years of the Kennedy administration (1961-1963) the growth of the money supply as measured by M2 averaged about 8 percent per year.
This inflationary policy made possible Lyndon Johnson's simultaneous financing of extravagant expenditures on welfare programs (the "Great Society") and the military adventure in Vietnam and made conditions ripe for Nixon's imposition of wage and price controls (the "New Economic Policy").
In the late 1970s, the United States was suffering from serious stagflation, with unemployment rates rising to their highest levels since the Great Depression, and inflation soaring in the double digits.
The American economy underwent a dramatic boom-bust cycle of during the years 1995–2002, called the Dot-com bubble.
Another boom was ended with the Great Recession that started in 2007.
- A History of Money and Banking in the United States
- A Short History of Paper Money and Banking
- Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles
- Clifford F. Thies. "America' s First Wage and Price Controls", The Free Market, March 2000, Volume 18 Number 3, referenced 2009-09-12.
- Murray N. Rothbard. The Mystery of Banking, online version, Chapter IV. The Supply of Money, p.56-57, referenced 2009-08-20.
- Jörg Guido Hülsmann. The Ethics of Money Production, online version, Chapter 15. Fiat Monetary Systems in the Realm of the Nation-State p.199-203, referenced 2009-08-20.
- Thomas E. Woods, Jr. "The Revolutionary War and the Destruction of the Continental", Mises Daily on October 11 2006, referenced 2010-02-10.
- Robert L. Schuettinger and Eamonn F. Butler. "Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls", Chapter 4 - Canada and the United States: The First Centuries, p. 37-43, referenced 2009-08-09.
- Smith, Vera C. "The Rationale of Central Banking and the Free Banking Alternative", Chapter V The Organisation of Banking in America: Decentralisation without Freedom, online version, referenced 2009-09-03.
- Murray N. Rothbard. The Panic of 1819, online version, Chapter I: The Panic and its Genesis: Fluctuations in American Business 1815-1821. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962. Mises Institute 2007. Referenced 2009-10-03.
- Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks. "National Banks and The Dual Banking System" (pdf), September 2003, referenced 2010-03-29.
- Murray N. Rothbard. "A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II" (pdf), The War of 1812 and its Aftermath, p.72-82. Referenced 2010-06-30.
- Dan O'Connor. "Andrew Jackson: Then and Now", Mises Daily, January 19 2010, referenced 2010-01-19.
- Treasury Direct. "Historical Debt Outstanding - Annual 1791 - 1849", Public Debt Reports, referenced 2009-08-21
- Murray N. Rothbard. The Mystery of Banking, p.10, referenced 2009-08-24.
- Jörg Guido Hülsmann. The Ethics of Money Production, online version, Chapter 10. Legal-Tender Laws p.130-131, referenced 2009-09-19.
- Brad Skiles. "California Leads Nation with Sound Money — in 1865", from Mises Daily, August 24, 2010. Referenced 2010-08-30.
- Jörg Guido Hülsmann. The Ethics of Money Production, online version, Chapter 15. Fiat Monetary Systems in the Realm of the Nation-State p.203-206, referenced 2009-08-20.
- Murray N. Rothbard. "The Origins of the Federal Reserve" (pdf), The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 1999), referenced 2009-09-13.
- Murray N. Rothbard. The Mystery of Banking, Chapter XVI: Central banking in the United States IV: The Federal Reserve System, p.235-246, referenced 2009-10-03.
- Thomas E. Woods, Jr. "Warren Harding and the Forgotten Depression of 1920", First Principles, Fall 2009 issue of The Intercollegiate Review. See also the video. Referenced 2009-10-11.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, 5. The Development of the Inflation, p. 137-167, referenced 2009-11-17.
- Federal Reserve, St. Louis. "Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items", 1913-2009. See also the Inflation Calculator by the Department of Labor Statistics. Referenced 2009-05-22.
- National Bureau of Economic Research. "Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions", referenced 2009-06-22.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, The New Deal Farm Program, p. 217-237, referenced 2009-11-21.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, 5. The Development of Hoover's Interventionism: Unemployment, p. 188-189, referenced 2009-11-20.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, 8. The Depression Begins: President Hoover Takes Command, p. 209-217, referenced 2009-11-21.
- U.S. Department of State. Smoot-Hawley Tariff, referenced 2009-11-22.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, 9. 1930, p. 239-256, referenced 2009-11-22.
- Murray N. Rothbard. America's Great Depression, 10. 1931—"The Tragic Year", p. 257-284, referenced 2009-11-27.
- Robert P. Murphy. "The Gold Standard and the Great Depression", Mises Daily, posted on October 30, 2009, referenced 2009-11-18.
- George F. Smith. "The Virtue of Hoarding", Mises Daily, posted on October 09, 2009, referenced 2009-11-18.
- Murray N. Rothbard. "The Case Against the Fed" (pdf), How the Fed Rules and Inflates, p. 144, referenced 2010-03-23.
- Richard K. Vedder and Lowell Gallaway. "The Great Depression of 1946" (pdf), The Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1991): 3-32. ISSN 0889-3047. Referenced 2011-08-21.
- Murray N. Rothbard. "Making Economic Sense", Chapter 34: "Price Controls are Back!", referenced 2009-09-12.
- Joseph T. Salerno. "How the Fed Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Easy Money", Mises Daily. Referenced 2013-11-03.
- William L. Anderson. "Sticking to the Official Narrative", Mises Daily. Referenced 2013-11-03.
- Free Banking: Theory, History and a Laissez-Faire Model (pdf) by Larry J. Sechrest
- Important Dates in the Monetary History of the US from the Scoop
- History of fiat money in the USA
- Reflation in American History by H.A. Scott Trask, October 2003
- The Feds Before the Fed about the first central banks by H.A. Scott Trask. The Free Market, Volume 24, Number 3, March 2004.
- Rise and Fall of the dollar (jpg, 1.2MB; a smaller version of 280kB is available), a graphical summary of the development of the dollar by Sean Malone. Courtesy of the Loxicology blog.
- The Not So Wild, Wild West, February 2010, by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill
- The State Grants No Quarter to Freedom, February 2010, by Chris Casey; about the debasement of US coinage.
- A Constitutional Dollar, March 2010, by Michael Rozeff
- The U.S. Constitution and Money Part 6 The Legal Tender Cases, April 2010, by Michael Rozeff
- Perpetual Debt: From the British Empire to the American Hegemon by H.A. Scott Trask, January 2004
- Once-Temporary Tariff by F.W. Taussig, March 2011