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Working Paper

The National Banking System: A Brief History

During the period of the National Banking System (1863-1913), national banks could issue bank notes backed by holdings of eligible U.S. government securities. This paper presents an overview of the legal and financial history of this period. It begins with the reasons the National Banking System was created. It also examines the rules of operation for national banks as established by the National Banking Act and its subsequent revisions. Furthermore, the paper serves as a brief financial history of the period, examining the various forces that shaped the environment in which national banks operated.

This paper represents a preliminary chapter from a forthcoming monograph on the period of the National Banking System. Other chapters of the monograph appear in the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s working paper series as working paper 07-19R2 and working paper 07-22R2.

Suggested Citation

Champ, Bruce. 2010. “The National Banking System: A Brief History.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 07-23R.