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Currency PoliticsThe Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy$
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Jeffry A. Frieden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691173849

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691173849.001.0001

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The United States: Silver Threats among the Gold, 1880–96

The United States: Silver Threats among the Gold, 1880–96

(p.104) Chapter 3 The United States: Silver Threats among the Gold, 1880–96
Currency Politics

Jeffry A. Frieden

Princeton University Press

This chapter surveys US currency policy in the 1890s. The United States was on the gold standard from 1879 until 1933. For almost all that time, US currency policy was politically controversial. The controversy became particularly heated during periods of economic distress, especially in the 1890s. In what is perhaps the most famous modern political conflict over exchange rate policy, the Populist movement launched a concerted attack on the gold standard, which led up to a presidential election fought largely over gold. The rise of the Populist movement came at a pivotal time as the country had matured industrially while remaining predominantly agrarian. The battle of the standards was also a fight over whose vision of society would dominate: the big cities with their booming finance, commerce, and industries, or the countryside with its thriving cotton, tobacco, and wheat farms whose products dominated world markets.

Keywords:   exchange rate policy, currency policy, gold standard, monetary policy, Populist movement

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