Balance of Power: The Political Fight for a Central Bank 1790–Present (Teaching Guide)
This lesson describes a number of group and individual assignments for use with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Balance of Power booklet, which explores the Federal Reserve’s role throughout history.
"Defining Moments in Federal Reserve System History: 1907–1935"
This lesson presents a history of Federal Reserve events and milestones from 1907 to 1935 through a reader’s theater activity and the keeping of a “Centennial journal.” Additional writing assignments help students understand the Fed’s role during this time period and its responsibilities today.
Myths, Tall Tales and Urban Legends: A Lesson on the Facts behind the Fed
This active-learning lesson introduces students to common myths about the Federal Reserve and the reality behind the misconceptions. Students will evaluate statements about the Federal Reserve, using primary sources and each other to determine whether they are true or false. They circulate and survey one another in the process to pair myths and realities.
Multimedia (Video, Online Student Modules, Web Pages, and Simulations)
Current FAQs (Federal Reserve System)
These FAQs are a series of questions and answers that inform the public about the Federal Reserve and various topics on money, banking and financial institutions, and the economy.
The Federal Reserve and You
This video series contains eight chapters covering all aspects of the Federal Reserve, including the history of central banking in the United States and the origins of our current Federal Reserve System.
Federal Reserve Centennial Gateway
The Federal Reserve History Gateway highlights the people, events, and purpose of the Federal Reserve during its first one hundred years.
“Federal Reserve Structure and Functions”
This online brochure outlines the organizational structure of the Federal Reserve System and describes the Fed's major functions, including formulating monetary policy, conducting bank supervision and regulation, and providing services to depository institutions and the federal government.
In Plain English: Making Sense of the Federal Reserve
A video explaining the Federal Reserve and its main purposes and functions, with supporting content available through a website, ebook, and online courses for teachers and students and consumers.
Jekyll Island and the Creation of the Federal Reserve
This short video created for a conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the historic Jekyll Island proceedings gives an overview of the origins, purposes and outcome of the meeting that created the Aldrich Plan. The video and an accompanying online quiz for students can also be found at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Video Q&A for Teachers and Students site.
Primary Sources/Common Core
Myths, Tall Tales, and Urban Legends: A Lesson on the Facts behind the Fed
This active-learning lesson introduces students to common myths about the Federal Reserve and the reality behind the misconceptions. Students will evaluate statements about the Federal Reserve, using primary sources and each other to determine whether the statements are true or false. They circulate and survey one another in the process to pair myths and realities. The lesson is also includes an accompanying SMART lesson.
National Monetary Commission
These primary source documents are from the National Monetary Commission, the group charged in 1908 with the task of creating a plan for a new central banking system. They are from the archives of the Federal Reserve, housed on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis,
The Aldrich Plan
This collection contains Aldrich’s original plans for a central bank. The collection is in the archives of the Federal Reserve housed on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis,
The Federal Reserve Act
Here is the ultimate primary source on the Fed: the complete text of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act.
Articles and Publications
A Christmas Present for the President
Drawing on reminiscences, letters, and newspapers of the time, this short history of the creation of the Federal Reserve System gives an inside look at the diverse forces and personalities that came together to create the nation’s central bank.
"Financial Crises, Reform, and Central Banking: Establishing the Federal Reserve" (January 2011 Economic Information Newsletter, Classroom Edition)
This article tells the story behind the establishment of the Federal Reserve. It includes discussion questions for classroom use.
Historical Beginnings...The Federal Reserve
This publication gives a history of the founding of the Federal Reserve, with a focus on the political compromises involved and the Federal Reserve Act’s implementation in 1913–14.
Panic of 1907
This publication describes how the failure of one commodity speculator in October 1907 triggered a nationwide bank run and ultimately led to calls for banking reform and the establishment of the Federal Reserve System.
Paul Warburg's Crusade to Establish a Central Bank in the United States
This 1989 article from the Minneapolis Fed’s magazine, The Region, examines the influence of Paul Warburg, an attendee at the 1910 Jekyll Island meeting and a member of the first Federal Reserve Board, on the design of the Federal Reserve System.
The Balance of Power: The Political Fight for an Independent Central Bank, 1790–Present
This publication examines the congressional actions and political debates that led up to, created, and modified the Federal Reserve System.
"The Not-So-Strange Case of Jekyll Island: The 1910 Plan to Create a Central Bank"
This article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s online newsletter, Extra Credit, explores the history of Jekyll Island and the origins and outcomes of the 1910 meeting that laid the blueprint for the creation of the Federal Reserve System.