I run into this claim quite a lot. A lot of the people advancing it are fans of G. Edward Griffin, and this is why I find it so odd that this theory has gained so much traction. Griffin discounts the theory in his excellent book The Creature from Jekyll Island. More on that in a minute.
There seems to be a desire among some end-the-Fed people to believe that we’ve had a few good presidents who have tried to stand up for the people but were tragically stopped by the bankers. Thus we hear this fake quotation, attributed to Woodrow Wilson, quite a bit: “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”
The first two sentences of this quotation are entirely fabricated. The rest come from a book Wilson published in 1913, before the Fed was even created. Yet the quotation is routinely given as evidence that Wilson regretted creating the Fed. He didn’t. He was proud of it.
Then there’s this Jefferson quotation that a lot of Greenbackers use: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.”
Now look, there are plenty of anti-national bank quotations one can find from American statesmen, so why use a fake one? I suspect the answer is that this fake quotation goes after the “private banks,” which Greenbackers oppose. So now Jefferson is made to look like someone who wants the government, not the “private banks,” issuing the paper money. But Jefferson was a hard-money man to the end, calling for the retirement of all paper money and its replacement with specie, and writing the introduction to the English translation of Destutt de Tracy’s hard-money treatise.
Now back to JFK. The idea that a scion of the Eastern establishment would take aim at the Federal Reserve is preposterous, but people want to believe it. I wish they would instead understand that there were no great presidents who were snookered by the bankers, etc. They’re all part of the same racket.
Here’s G. Edward Griffin on JFK, who was not doing anything to undermine the Fed. Kennedy was quite pleased about the expansionary Fed policy of the 1960s. as a matter of fact.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [send him mail; visit his website], a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is the author of eleven books, most recently Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse and Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, as well as the New York Times bestsellers Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. He is also the editor of five other books, including the just-released Back on the Road to Serfdom.