National Emergency: Executive Order 6102 and the Heist of the Century


Ninety-one years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pulled off the greatest heist in American history.

Unlike most robberies, this one was entirely legal. No safe-cracking was required; no ski masks, guns, or getaway cars. Just a pen and some White House letterhead.

On April 5 1933, FDR issued Executive Order 6102, making it illegal for anyone in the United States to own gold. By penalty of up to a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison, everyone in the country was ordered to turn in their gold to the government, by the end of the month.1

EO 6102 is one of the most important milestones in the history of money. Book-ended by the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and the…

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