The Federal Reserve and its Founders

Money, Politics and Power

Richard A. Naclerio

£65.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781911116035
£17.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781788210782
£17.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781911116042
240 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  30 May 2018


"The Federal Reserve and its Founders is a must read for anyone interested in the Fed. From its very beginning, the author maintains, the institution was (and remains) about power. Indeed, its establishment was the handiwork of an 'economic coup d'état' by Wall Street. This is a masterfully well-written and well-researched account of a banking system that directly affects the quality of all our lives." – Carl Lane, Professor of History, Felician University, New Jersey

"The Federal Reserve is likely the most powerful single entity in the American economy. This book provides a rich story line about its creation, clears misconceptions about its positioning within our economic system, and serves as an illustration of how the combination of individual action – even when differentially motivated – can result in exponentially significant outcomes. Richard Naclerio does an excellent job of weaving an interesting, yet highly informative, treatise on a historical topic that remains extraordinarily relevant in today’s world." – Patrick G. Maggitti, Provost, Villanova University

"Approaching a potentially difficult topic in an engaging and readable fashion, Naclerio employs a mostly biographical lens to take readers through the origins of the Federal Reserve. From Nelson Aldrich to Frank Vanderlip, The Federal Reserve and its Founders examines how power was amassed and then how it was employed in the development of the US financial system. Timely and perceptive, the book offers insight for specialists and a gripping narrative for a general audience." – Robert David Johnson, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center

"Naclerio argues the populist viewpoint that the Federal Reserve was formed by elites to preserve their advantage over the 'little guy' ... using archival evidence from personal writings, contemporary critiques and newspaper stories ... he argues that from the 'American people’s' viewpoint a central bank that does not bail out banks, does not profit from high interest rates charged to the 'little guy,' and that has oversight by non-elites appears to be the type of institution a populist might prefer ... the usefulness of the references it provides to see the Federal Reserve system through the eyes of a twenty-first century populist. Giving voice to those who have felt alienated from or disillusioned by the system can support constructive institutional change going forward."  – Mary Tone Rodgers, State University of New York at Oswego in

"Naclerio's collective biography of the Jekyll Island group ... covers the full lives that each man lived, before and after the Jekyll Island retreat, so he does not simply reduce each biography to that one, pivotal moment. This makes the book genuinely informative, especially about the social and professional networks that linked bankers and policymakers." – Jefferson Decker, H-Net Reviews


To fully understand the Federal Reserve and its role today we need to examine its origins and the men who founded it. Using extensive archival sources, Richard Naclerio investigates the highly secretive events that surrounded the Fed’s creation and the bankers, financiers and tycoons that shaped both its organization and the role it was to play over the next century. The motivations of this handful of men who created the first draft of the Federal Reserve Act are explored, and the business ties and shared ideologies that bound them together revealed. A story of vested interest and the pursuit of power, the book sheds new light on the creation of one of the world’s most important financial institutions.


1. The Genesis
2. The System
3. The Island
4. The Politician: Nelson W. Aldrich
5. The Architect: Paul M. Warburg
6. The Lieutenant: Benjamin Strong, Jr
7. The Emissary: Henry P. Davison
8. The Professor: A. Piatt Andrew
9. The Farm Boy: Frank A. Vanderlip
10. The Panic, the Pirate, and Pujo
11. The War
12. The Journalist: Bob Ivry

Author Information

Richard A. Naclerio has worked extensively in business operations and real estate investment in New York City and Denver, Colorado. He continues to manage his own real estate companies and stock portfolios. Although he enjoyed some financial success, personal fulfilment eluded him. So in 2010, at the age of 40, he decided to pursue his passion for history. Still lacking a college diploma, he received his BA and Masters from Iona College, graduating first in his class at the age of 43. He taught business communications and English at Monroe College in the Bronx, New York and worked for three years at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut as an adjunct history instructor and academic advisor. Awarded a fellowship to the history doctoral program of the Graduate Center at City University of New York, he is now, at 48, a third-year PhD candidate. He is also a graduate teaching fellow at Lehman College. He is married with four children and lives in Westchester County, NY. This is his first book.

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