A Brief History of the Federal Reserve Bank
The Panic of 1907
After the demise of the second bank, state-chartered and uncharted "free banks" took root. These banks issued their own notes, redeemable in gold or silver. Though the National Banking Act, passed in 1863, tried to provide a measure of currency stability, bank runs and financial panics remained common into the early 20th century. A bout of speculation on Wall Street that bottomed out in 1907, above, triggered a banking panic that led to calls to reform the banking system.