America’s Bank Book Summary - America’s Bank Book explained in key points
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America’s Bank summary

Roger Lowenstein

The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve Act

4.2 (30 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

"America's Bank" by Roger Lowenstein is a captivating history of the founding of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and its role in establishing America's economic dominance through the turbulent 20th century.

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    America’s Bank
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    The populism of Andrew Jackson doused plans for creating a central bank in the United States.

    If a presidential candidate today were to question the US Federal Reserve’s right to exist, at best the comment would be considered a joke or worse, the ravings of a lunatic.

    As you’ll soon see, however, this sort of opinion in the early days of the United States wasn’t uncommon.

    Between the War of Independence which ended in 1783 and the early 1900s, many people opposed any form of concentrated authority in the United States, including a central bank.

    This opposition was based on a fear that with such an institution, the government could exercise an undue amount of control over citizens’ lives.  

    For instance, in 1791, the Philadelphia-based First Bank of the United States was chartered for 20 years. Anti-federalists, however, strongly opposed this central bank’s existence as a sign of government dominance, and blocked the charter from being renewed.

    In lieu of a central bank, banks at the regional and state levels were forced to issue their own banknotes.  

    During the War of 1812 against Britain, the lack of a regulated central currency in the United States caused fiscal chaos. To better secure their market interests, businesses began to favor both centralized tariffs and regulation, which led to the establishment in 1816 of the Second Bank of the United States.  

    Soon enough, however, the hopes for a strong central bank faced yet another hurdle in Andrew Jackson, the seventh American president.

    Jackson opposed centralized banking as he saw it as an extension of the wealthy minority’s power over the poorer majority. His opinion, which echoed a populist current at the time, was that banking was an elitist, anti-democratic force.

    In 1836, to combat what he saw as an unfair and inappropriate amount of economic and political power held by the central bank, Jackson vetoed the charter renewal for the Second Bank of the United States.

    His opposition dealt a death blow to the dream of a central bank for the rest of the century.

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    What is America’s Bank about?

    In America’s Bank (2015), you’ll discover the gripping story of the US Federal Reserve, or “Fed.” These blinks trace the history behind the development and unification of the American banking system and show the complex web of interests and players that continue to shape the system today.

    America’s Bank Review

    America’s Bank (2015) by Roger Lowenstein sheds light on the establishment of the Federal Reserve and its impact on the U.S. economy. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • Exploring the untold stories behind the creation of the Federal Reserve, this book offers a fresh perspective on a pivotal moment in American history.
    • With its detailed analysis and engaging storytelling, it paints a vivid picture of the economic challenges faced by the United States during the early 20th century.
    • By examining the individuals involved, including powerful bankers and politicians, it reveals the complex dynamics that shaped U.S. monetary policy.

    Best quote from America’s Bank

    Banking reform and the progressive movement each hurtled ahead, like separate freight cars approaching a fateful junction.

    —Roger Lowenstein
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    Who should read America’s Bank?

    • Students interested in economics or politics
    • People interested in American history

    About the Author

    Roger Lowenstein is a journalist who has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Magazine, Fortune and other publications. He has also written a number of books, including The End of Wall Street and Origins of the Crash.

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    America’s Bank FAQs 

    What is the main message of America’s Bank?

    The main message of America’s Bank is the role of the Federal Reserve in stabilizing the US financial system.

    How long does it take to read America’s Bank?

    Reading time for America’s Bank varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is America’s Bank a good book? Is it worth reading?

    America’s Bank is worth reading for its insights into the Federal Reserve's history and impact on the US economy.

    Who is the author of America’s Bank?

    The author of America’s Bank is Roger Lowenstein.

    What to read after America’s Bank?

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