Then & Now
Review the history of central banking in the U.S. from 1791 to the establishment of the Federal Reserve and beyond.
1791–1811: A penniless young country takes a tentative step into central banking.
1816–1836: Central banking gets a second chance, but again it doesn’t last.
1836–1860: State banks’ notes serve as currency but also bring financial confusion.
1861–1912: A more uniform national currency emerges from the Civil War.
1913–1914: Repeated financial failures prompt Congress to establish a decentralized central bank.
1930s: The Great Depression reshapes the role of government, the financial system, and the Fed.
1940s–1970s: Fed policy becomes independent again and economic goals become clearer.
1960s–1980s: Congress expands the Fed’s role in consumer protection.
1980s–2000: Deregulation of banking shapes the financial system and the Fed's role.