Marriner Eccles: Father of the Modern Federal Reserve
Marriner Eccles was one of the premier economic thinkers of his time. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Marriner was integral to the economic policies of the 1930s and ‘40s; he was a staunch advocate for the independence of the nation’s central bank, and a voice of the New Deal.
Extras + Features
Marriner Eccles' Road to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve
In a speech before Congress in 1933, with the nation in the throes of the Great Depression, a previously-unknown banker from Utah took to the podium to advocate for unprecedented, major government interventions in the economy — from unemployment insurance to housing assistance. His name was Marriner Eccles, and his ideas would soon propel him to the seat of chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The Treasury-Federal Reserve Accord
In modern history, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have operated as fully separate institutions — the Treasury manages the nation’s debt, while the Fed sets monetary policy — but this was not always the case. Throughout the 1940s, the Fed had worked with the Treasury to help finance the war effort, but by the 1950s, it was time for this arrangement to come to an end.
The Great Depression
Marriner Eccles' experiences during the Great Depression led to an epiphany — rather than relying solely on the free market, Marriner came to believe that in times of economic hardship, the federal government had a responsibility to intervene on behalf of the people, or risk the collapse of democracy and capitalism both.
The Role of the Modern Federal Reserve
What is the role of the Federal Reserve in regulating the U.S. economy? The Fed has two major roles: monetary policy, accomplished through the setting of interest rates, and oversight of the financial system, such as the regulation of the banking system at large. Through these two sets of tools, the Fed can stimulate a sluggish economy, reduce inflation, and ensure banks are operating properly.
Marriner Eccles – The Early Years
Long before he came to head the Federal Reserve Board, Marriner Eccles began life as the son of Scottish immigrants, Mormon settlers searching for a better life in Northern Utah. Marriner would get his business acumen from his father, David Eccles — a successful entrepreneur, and at the time one of the wealthiest men between Denver and San Francisco.
Marriner Eccles was one of the premier economic thinkers of his time. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Marriner was integral to the economic policies of the 1930s and '40s; he was a staunch advocate for the independence of the nation’s central bank, and a voice of the New Deal.
Discover one of the premier economic thinkers of the 1930s — Marriner S. Eccles.
Stream tens of thousands of hours of your PBS and local favorites with WETA Passport whenever and wherever you want. Catch up on a single episode or binge-watch full seasons before they air on TV.
Secrets of the Tower of London
The White House: Inside Story
Making Black America
How the Monuments Came Down
The Black Church
Tales from the Royal Wardrobe
Stella – A History of War
Women and the Vote
From Wall Street to Bay Street