American financial history: Why we are where we are
These presidents played key roles in shaping the U.S. economy.
1. George Washington
· Signed the bill to create the First Bank of the United States, which assumed the Revolutionary War debt.
2. James Madison
· Created the Second Bank of the United States to help the U.S. recover from debts from the War of 1812.
3. Benjamin Harrison
· Authorized the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prevented companies from monopolizing a market.
4. Woodrow Wilson
· Signed into being the Federal Reserve system, which is still the sole government-authorized supplier of U.S. currency.
5. Herbert Hoover
· Allowed for the increase of tariffs on imported goods, resulting in a greater export of goods than import.
6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
· Signed into creation the New Deal program, creating 8.5 million jobs during the Great Depression. Also created the Social Security Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (minimum wage), and Federal Crop Insurance Corp.
7. Lyndon B. Johnson
· Passed the new Social Security Act of 1965, creating Medicare and Medicaid.
8. Richard Nixon
· Ended the gold standard in 1971, allowing the Federal Reserve to print more money without gold suppressing that limit.
9. George W. Bush
· Signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, bailing out financial firms. These firms now hold 77 percent of the industry’s domestic assets.
Take this pop quiz to see how much you know about our nation’s money history.