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O.M.W. Sprague (the man who “wrote the book” on financial crises) and the founding of the Federal Reserve

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  • Rockoff, Hugh

Abstract

O.M.W. Sprague was America's leading expert on financial crises when America was debating establishing the Federal Reserve. His History of Crises under the National Banking System is the most enduring intellectual legacy of the National Monetary Commission; a still frequently cited classic. Since the Commission recommended a central bank, and its recommendation after some modifications became the Federal Reserve System, it might be assumed that Sprague was a strong supporter of establishing a central bank. But he was not. Initially, Sprague favored far more limited reforms, a position that he did not abandon until the Federal Reserve became a fait accompli. Here I discuss the sources of Sprague's opposition to a central bank and the relationship of that opposition to his understanding of the history and structure of the American banking system at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Rockoff, Hugh, 2015. "O.M.W. Sprague (the man who “wrote the book” on financial crises) and the founding of the Federal Reserve," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 35-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finsta:v:17:y:2015:i:c:p:35-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfs.2015.01.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Margarita Irizepova, 2015. "Methods of State’s Reaction to Risks of State Finances Management," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(3), pages 129-136.
    2. Margarita Irizepova, 2015. "Historical Evolution of Economic Category “State Financial Reservesâ€," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(3), pages 103-114.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve; Banking crises; O.M.W. Sprague; Lender of last resort;

    JEL classification:

    • B26 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Financial Economics
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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