Semester of Graduation

Fall 2022

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The Limits of Financial Equity: The Federal Reserve, the Depression of 1921, and the End of Wilsonian Progressivism is an examination of monetary policy and centralized macroeconomic planning in the American economy during the inflationary spiral of the 1910s that culminated in the Depression of 1921. Put forward for consideration is the successful populist campaign for agricultural credit equity by the burgeoning Federal Reserve System; set against a backdrop of intentional inflation, world and domestic citizens competed against as the price and supply chain distortions perpetuated by the policing of American commerce by the Food Administration, A. Mitchell Palmer’s Department of Justice, and the United States Railroad Administration. Through the extensive use of state and federal financial statements, newspaper reports, and personal papers of the vested parties, the road to the forgotten Depression of 1921 is laid bare and with it the pitfalls of activist governance—from expert management of the economy toward equitable ends to the pitfalls of inflationary finance to the scapegoat of corporate greed—that would return in the crash of 1929 and distort our world view of economic and social ills in every downturn to the present.

Date

11-18-2022

Committee Chair

Dr. Charles Shindo

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