The Panic of 1907 and the High Tide of Progressivism (A)

Case Solution

Robert F. Bruner
Darden School of Business ()

In June 1913, President Woodrow Wilson faced legislative stalemate in defining a new Federal Reserve Bank for the United States. The recent panic of 1907 provoked a great bourgeois reaction in an attempt to dispel centuries-old antipathy towards the central bank. Now Wilson must decide how best to capitalize on the public’s response to the creation of a new central bank. Wilson’s dilemma emerges amid a dramatic regime change in American politics. The rise of populists and progressive politicians in response to America’s rapid transformation in the Golden Age marked 1913 as a historic hub. It is useful to consider how the panic of 1907 contributed to this turning point and how the public subsequently reacted to the panic. This case and its companion case B are a vehicle to shed light on the dynamics of financial crises, compare financial stability systems such as clearing house associations and central banks, consider the origins of the Federal Reserve system of the States. States and examine the dynamics of government policy. in the context of a regime change in the political environment.

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