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Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State$
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Samuel DeCanio

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198782

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198782.001.0001

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Discretion and the Treasury Department

Discretion and the Treasury Department

(p.121) Chapter 7 Discretion and the Treasury Department
Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State

Samuel DeCanio

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the Panic of 1873 and its political implications for the Republican Party and the Treasury Department. More specifically, it shows how the Republican defeat in the congressional elections of 1874 led some Republicans to empower the Treasury Department with new forms of regulatory authority. Focusing on the Specie Resumption Act of 1875, the chapter considers the decision of Republicans such as John Sherman and George Edmunds to delegate monetary policy to the Treasury Department after suffering devastating losses in the midterm election of 1874. It argues that the delegation of policy authority to the Treasury Department was a political maneuver in which federal bureaucrats were granted discretion over the money supply in order to insulate the Republicans from electoral retribution.

Keywords:   monetary policy, Panic of 1873, Republican Party, Treasury Department, elections, Specie Resumption Act, John Sherman, George Edmunds, money supply, regulatory authority

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