Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The 'forgotten' Florida senator who chased a financial crisis



John Kennedy takes a look at the last financial collapse to grip a nation - the 1929 stock market crash - and tells the story of a Florida lawmaker who pushed for reforms that lasted for decades until being undone by the banking industry.

Fletcher "Chairing the investigation was a Floridian, Jacksonville Sen. Duncan Fletcher, whose name today is largely lost in history. But his probe of the freewheeling financial era that crashed with the Great Depression spanned two years, filled 11,000 pages of testimony and spawned many of the nation's banking regulations still in place.

The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 grew out of Fletcher's hearings, separating commercial banks from investment houses. Bank deposits became federally insured, protecting Americans' nest eggs, while the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 also tightened Wall Street regulation.

"Fletcher is one of most important figures to come out of Florida in the 20th century, but he's been mostly forgotten," said J. Wayne Flynt, a retired Auburn University historian." (full story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:33pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours