A Bank in Human Form

in Face Value

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226629377
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226629391 | DOI:
A Bank in Human Form

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The establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 dramatically changed the debate over money in America. The crude racial language surrounding money faded after the Fed moved the subject of money out of the realm of popular politics and into the domain of experts. Although white supremacy remained connected to the gold standard, this link was weakened by the new era of managed money. The white supremacist consensus that began in the Jim Crow era also ended in the twentieth century, to be replaced by the modern civil rights movement. The end of the gold standard opened up some new discursive possibilities about value, character, and where they originated. This chapter examines how Americans remade and redefined money during the twentieth century, focusing on Franklin D. Roosevelt's gold policies and the way he used the newly constructed Gold Bullion Depository at Fort Knox to suggest the idea of a gold standard even as he moved away from gold as money. It also assesses the relationship between a managed, fiat currency and racial equality.

Keywords: Federal Reserve System; money; white supremacy; civil rights movement; gold standard; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Gold Bullion Depository; Fort Knox; racial equality; currency

Chapter.  13766 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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