One reason the U.S. was late to create a central bank was that earlier renditions of central banks, the First and Second Banks of the United States (1791-1811 and 1816-1836, respectively), drew political fire as large, financially powerful corporations. Although both institutions performed well, it proved impossible for either to convince both a congressional majority and the President that they should continue to exist after their charters expired. Why has the Federal Reserve Bank, also a center of concentrated financial power, succeeded in surviving where its predecessors failed? An institutional comparison reveals that the Federal Reserve enjoys certain organizational advantages that the earlier central banks lacked.
The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to recognize faculty newly promoted to full professor rank.