The Federal Reserve Comes To Life or The US Gets a Central Bank



The Federal Reserve Act, also known at the time as the Currency Bill, or the Owen-Glass Act. The bill called for a system of eight to twelve regional Reserve Banks that would be owned by commercial banks and whose actions would be coordinated by a committee appointed by the President. The Federal Reserve System would be a privately owned central banking system. Bankers would run the twelve Banks and those Banks would be supervised and by the Federal Reserve Board.

Official Version

The Federal Reserve Act was passed of December 23 by a vote of 298 to 60. The Senate passed the measure 43 to 25. President Wilson signed the bill on December 23 at 6 PM.

Unofficial Version

The bill had been shepherded through a Congressional Conference Committee meeting scheduled for between 1:30 - 4:30 AM (when most members of Congress were asleep) on December 22, 1913. The Act was then voted on the next day and passed although many members of the body had left for the Christmas holidays and most others who stayed behind hadn't had time to read it or know its contents.



World war breaks out in Europe. President Woodrow Wilson declares American neutrality.


The Panama Canal opens.


Congress ratifies the 16th Amendment creating the Internal Revenue Service. The amendment was proposed in Congress by Senator Nelson Aldrich.

As presented the income tax would only be one percent of income under $20,000, with the assurance that it would never increase.



The British liner, "Lusitania" with 128 American passengers onboard and laden with munitions, cruised right through the middle of the wartime shipping lanes and was promptly sunk by a German submarine, thus bringing the U.S. directly into the European conflagration.

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