6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street

In her book Broken Bargain, author Kathleen Day examines the history of financial regulation and of government oversight of corporations—which goes back to the founding fathers. She explains that we have lost sight of the fact that to have a corporation is a privilege bequeathed by the government, and she shows how the current oversight system for finance was created as a result of the great stock market crash of 1929 – when the public view of the federal government’s role in the economy shifted – and people began to look MORE to Washington for oversight of Wall Street and of their savings. The Kirkus Review calls Broken Bargain 'A fluent if dispiriting study of an economic system that forgives those at the top so long as those at the bottom remain willing to foot the bill.'

Kathleen Day worked for thirty years as a business journalist with the Washington PostLos Angeles Times, and USA Today before joining the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School as a professor of financial crises in 2013. She lives in Washington, DC.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.