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The tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that unexpectedly birthed the Federal Reserve, from renowned financial writer Roger LowensteinUntil the election of Woodrow Wilson the United States alone among developed nations lacked a central bank. Ever since the Revolutionary War, Americans had desperately feared the consequences of centralizing the nation's finances under government control. However, in the aftermath of a disastrous financial panic, Congress was persuaded by a confluence of populist unrest, widespread mistrust of bankers, ideological divisions, and secretive lobbying to approve the landmark 1913 Federal Reserve Act.