Carter Glass sponsored important banking laws of the twentieth century, among them the GLASS-STEAGALL ACTS of 1932 and 1933 (48 Stat. 162). He wrote and sponsored the legislation that established the FEDERAL RESERVE System in 1913. He was also a key player in making amendments to the system during the decades following its establishment. A Virginia Democrat, he served as secretary of the treasury under WOODROW WILSON and was a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Glass was born January 4, 1858, in Lynchburg, Virginia, the youngest of twelve children. His mother, Augusta Christian Glass, died when he was two years old, and Glass was raised by a sister ten years older than he. His father, Robert H. Glass, was the editor of the Daily Republic.
Following the Civil War, Glass's father turned down an offer of reappointment to his old position as postmaster general, because he did not want to be on the payroll of the nation he had just fought. Having lived through a financially strapped childhood during the Reconstruction period, Glass would as an adult consistently oppose strong centralized control by the federal government except in emergencies.
Glass left school at age fourteen to begin a printer's apprenticeship at his father's paper. He completed his apprenticeship in 1876 when the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia. Glass soon moved back to Lynchburg to work as an auditor for the railroad. In 1880 he became the city editor, and then the editor, of the Lynchburg News. With savings and the financial backing of friends, he purchased that newspaper in 1888. The same year he married Aurelia McDearmon Caldwell, a teacher. In the early 1890s, Glass bought and consolidated other Lynchburg newspapers.
"THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE [GLASS-STEAGALL] BILL ? WAS TO PREVENT ? THE USE OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANKING FACILITIES FOR STOCK-GAMBLING PURPOSES."
In 1899 Glass was elected to the Virginia state senate, where he was put on the committee of finance and banking. During his career as a state legislator, he was an active debater on suffrage for African Americans, the subject of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He supported restricting VOTING RIGHTS for illiterate former slaves on the theory that these votes were used by those in power to maintain their power. He also argued in defense of the...