Liberty and Currency: the United States Asset Currency Reform Movement


The colloquium explored the currency reform movements that emerged during the National Banking era following the Panic of 1893. Its focus was on important writings of the movement's leaders, as well as works exploring the reasons for the movement's ultimate failure--as the United States embraced central banking instead of currency reform.


From Liberty Fund

The Rationale of Central Banking

by By Vera C. Smith
Foreword by Leland B. Yeager

The Rationale of Central Banking was first published in England in 1936. Vera Smith spent her professional career in a variety of research positions. She wrote articles and books on money, banking, economic development, and the labor market and translated into English books by Wilhelm Röpke, Oskar Morgenstern, and Fritz…

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Additional Readings

“National Bank Act of 1864.” Sections 16 (Deposit of United States with the Treasurer of the United States, required of each association) and 21 (Circulating notes to be issued by the Comptroller).

Laughlin, J. Laurence, ed. “Preliminary Report: The Banking System.” In Report of the Monetary Commission of the Indianapolis-Convention, Indianapolis: The Hollenbeck Press, 1898. Page(s): 45-49.

Gage, Lyman J. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1899. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900. “Banking and Currency.” Page(s): 88-96.

American Bankers Association. Statement of Currency Commission of American Bankers Association Presented to the House Committee of Banking and Currency at Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 15, 1908.

Bordo, Michael D. and Angela Redish. “Why Did the Bank of Canada Emerge in 1935?” The Journal of Economic History 47, no. 2 (January 1987): 405-417.

Carlisle, John G. “‘The Carlisle Plan’ of Currency Reform.” Sound Currency 4, no. 3 (February 1, 1897): 1-8.

Friedman, Milton and Anna Jacobson Schwartz. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Homer, Charles C., “Address” In The Baltimore Plan for the Creation of a Safe and Elastic Currency, Baltimore: Sun Book and Job Printing Office, 1894. 10-21.

James, John A. Money and Capital Markets in Postbellum America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.

Johnson, Joseph French. The Canadian Banking System. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1910.

Laughlin, J. Laurence. “The ‘Baltimore Plan’ of Bank-Issues.” Journal of Political Economy 3, no. 1 (December 1894): 101-105.

Livingston, James. Origins of the Federal Reserve System: Money, Class, and Corporate Capitalism, 1890–1913. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986.

McCulley, Robert T. Banks and Politics During the Progressive Era: The Origins of the Federal Reserve System, 1897–1913. New York: Garland, 1992.

Miron, Jeffrey A. “Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and the Founding of the Fed.” American Economic Review 76, no. 1 (March 1986): 125-140.

Root, L. Carroll. “Canadian Bank-Note Currency.” Sound Currency 2, no. 2 (December 15, 1894): 2-16.

Schuler, Kurt., “Free Banking in Canada.” In The Experience of Free Banking, edited by Kevin Dowd, 79-92. London: Routledge, 1992.

Selgin, George. “The Suppression of State Banknotes: A Reconsideration.” Economic Inquiry 38, no. 4 (October 2000): 600-615.

Selgin, George. “William Jennings Bryan and the Founding of the Fed.” Alt-M Blog. (April 20, 2014).

Selgin, George A. and Lawrence H. White. “Monetary Reform and the Redemption of National Bank Notes, 1863–1913.” Business History Review 68, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 205-243.

Silber, William L. “The Great Financial Crisis of 1914: What Can We Learn From Aldrich-Vreeland Emergency Currency.” American Economic Review 97, no. 2 (May 2007): 285-289.

Sylla, Richard. “Federal Policy, Banking Market Structure, and Capital Mobilization in the United States, 1863–1913.” Journal of Economic History 29, no. 4 (December 1969): 657-686.

Timberlake, Richard H. Monetary Policy in the United States: An Intellectual and Institutional History. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Wicker, Elmus. Banking Panics of the Gilded Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Wicker, Elmus. The Great Debate on Banking Reform: Nelson Aldrich and the Origins of the Fed. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2005.

Willis, H. Parker. “The Status of the Currency Reform Movement.” Sound Currency 10, no. 4 (December 1903): 117-126.