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Economic Commentary

Fear and Loathing of Central Banks in America

The Federal Reserve System is America’s uneasy compromise between our wariness of concentrated financial power and our desire to promote efficiency in our national payments system. In fact, the Federal Reserve is the nation’s third attempt to establish a large national bank—what we now call a central bank—that is in a unique position to influence a nation’s money and credit. This Commentary retells the story of the rise and fall of the two earlier national banks, the Banks of the United States.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bryan, Michael F., and Bruce Champ. 2002. “Fear and Loathing of Central Banks in America.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 6/1/2002.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International