Talk:Executive Order 6102

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Redirects[edit]

We need to make this page easier to find. I read a PDF of the original announcement distributed by the Postmaster General and so no mention of 6102. I suggest creating a "Gold Confiscation Executive Order" article that redirects to this one, or something similar. I don't know how to create one though. 137.201.247.20 (talk) 11:46, 26 December 2007 (UTC)Russel Fugal

There are several similar redirects to this article already: US Gold confiscationU.S. Gold confiscationGold Repeal ResolutionUnited States Executive Order 6102. I think you need to create an account and use that to be able to create redirects (and pages). —EncMstr 16:35, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

POV?[edit]

"and helped to stabilize the economy by eliminating large private hoards of wealth and centralizing gold commerce."

Utter POV garbage. Confiscating gold helped "stabilize" the economy by eliminating presumable greedy hoarders? Someone needs to fix this revisionist nonsense.

what was the emergency? - Omegatron 01:57, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)

The emergency, Omegatron, was The Great Depression. Unemployment was over 30%. Most of the population of Oklahoma, Kansas and surrounding states were starving, not hungry, but famine-type starving, which was exacerbated by the Dust Bowl. The situation was no better in cities. Don't forget the military veterans from World War I who weren't getting benefits that they were promised. This didn't happen overnight. The stock market crash was in October 1929, and Roosevelt wasn't elected until November 1932. Roosevelt had been in office for less than two months when he issued Executive Order 6102. It was an action based on dire necessity. 250,000 hungry, homeless WWI veterans were camped out in front of the White House at the time. Roosevelt had to do something. I have no idea if this was the best thing to do, but there was certainly an emergency. --FeralOink (talk) 06:17, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I think what needs to be done is state the facts, then have sections "arguments for", rebuttal, and "arguments against", rebuttal. I'm starting work on it in my word processor.

Rfugal (talk) 00:07, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I am boldly changing this page to state the facts in the first paragraph and "arguments for" in the second paragraph.
Rfugal —Preceding comment was added at 05:19, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

68.252.245.86 notes that the text of the executive order as quoted differs significantly from at least one contemporary publication of the order. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I think it's safe to assume that the version currently in the article is bogus. (Has there ever been a law written in the history of mankind, let alone the United States, that suddenly shifts into second person part way through?)

Also, odd punctuation aside, "U.S. Gold confiscation" strikes me as a pretty loaded title. "Confiscation" may be literally accurate, but the word has a strong negative connotation and suggests that the owners were not confiscated for the taking, when in fact they were as required by the 5th Amendment. I am therefore boldly rewriting the quote from the executive order and moving the article to a more neutral title, "United States Executive Order 6102." --Paul 00:24, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

31 U.S.C. § 463[edit]

The text of [1] mentions the above captioned USCode. However, that chapter and section doesn't appear to exist anymore. Is it possible that sometime between 1974 and now that the section was relocated within the code? or has the Gold Clause Resolution of 1933 been repealed?

I have removed that citation from the main article. Maybe someone with more interest in this can track it down. --G1076 00:42, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


Dollar De-valued[edit]

The text mentions the dollar was de-valued by 69%. This is wrong.

If the price of gold was raised from about $20.67 to $35, you get this number (69%) if you subtract 20.67 from 35, then divide by 20.67. This represents the percentage increase in the price of gold. It does not mean the percentage of value lost. To get that, one should subtract from 100% the ratio of the old to the new, ie ( 1 - 20.67/35 ), or 41%.

Imagine you had $1 and wanted to sell it to the US in 1933. You would receive 0.0484 ounces of Gold. The next day, EO 6102 goes into effect. Now you want to sell another $1. You get 0.0286 ounces of Gold. By what percent did your dollar lose value? Well, it could now purchase 41% less gold than before. Or, in other words, it could purchase only 59% of the amount of gold that same dollar puchased the day before. The inverse of this number (169%) is the percentage difference between the new value and the old value. Subtracting 1 from that number (69%) is the percentage increase between the old and new values.

--Otheus 19:43, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Otheus is wrong. The devaluation was 69%. I do these financial calculations all the time. If you could get .0484 of something one day, and .0286, you'd get a 41% decline. That would be the correct inference is the baseline amount were .0484. It isn't. DocGov (talk) 15:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Reworded to fix. Also eliminated notion that gov't "profits" when it takes currency out of circulation. --69.231.75.56 09:34, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

The somebody profits in this transaction. Hiking the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 by legislation creates money out of thin air. Devaluing the dollar is done by printing more money. That money can be loaned to banks, in which case banks profit, of spent by the federal government, in which case the government profits. Inflation is a tax.
137.201.247.20 (talk) 12:17, 26 December 2007 (UTC) Russel Fugal

Dollar Devalued...?[edit]

I don't know if we should say so baldly "the dollar was devalued to 69.3%". Against what? Rice? Palladium? Wood? This is true against gold. I don't know...was it usual in 1933 to measure the value of paper currencies only against gold, as the US WAS fully or partially on the gold standard...? I suggest we add "...against gold" to the sentence. What do others think?Chris. Fulker 02:46, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

You're right -- the wording was incorrect. The dollar was devalued against its former value as equivalent to $1 in gold. It was devalued by 41% or it was devaluted to 59% of it is former value. See previous section.--Otheus 07:44, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
The dollar was devalued by the Federal Reserve. In layman's terms; the Fed had x dollars of gold in it's possesion that it could lend against. Then one day they decided that they had 1.69x dollars of gold to lend against. The Fed created money out of thin air (which is the sole function of the Fed). More gold on the books ment the Fed could lend (i.e. print) more money. The dollar was devalued by 41% because the Fed pumped %69 more fiat money into the economy cause inflation. Think of it as a 41% tax on the American people that year. It's supply and demand, increase supply without increasing demand and the value goes down. Understand economics if you are going to talk about them. 137.201.247.20 (talk) 11:59, 26 December 2007 (UTC) Russel Fugal

fixed price contracts unlawful?[edit]

Toward the end it says "...Gold Clause Resolution of 1933, which makes unlawful any contracts which specify payment in a fixed amount of money or a fixed amount of gold" Does "fixed amount of money" really belong there, the implication is that all fixed-price contracts are unlawful. Does the term "money" mean something different here than the common usage? If so it should be clarified, if not, removed. Herostratus 15:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I was confused on this matter as well. I haven't been able to find any specific information on the Gold Clause as of yet but if someone does have this information maybe you could correct it. It would also be good to create a article for the resolution if were going to have a link for it.Mantion (talk) 23:45, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
If the contract says I can pay you $1000 or 1 ounce of gold, for say, a used car that you will deliver 1 months from now, then that's what it covers. If gold is $1100 when delivery time rolls around, I'd pay you in USD. If gold is $900, then I'd pay you in gold. Such contracts cancel out federal reserve tinkering with the value of money, restoring the stability to the value of money. The US government doesn't want this, because they rely on the fed being able to control the money supply, inflating and deflating at will. Gigs (talk) 03:09, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

How can an executive order impose criminal penalties?[edit]

Of course the Executive Order was unconstitutional and so were the Acts of Congress also - but that does not matter if only four our of the nine Judges on the Supreme Court try to enforce the Constitution. If five Justices of the Supreme Court say an Executive Order to execute all people over five feet tall is Constitutional then it goes into effect. Ditto with an Act of Congress to execute everyone over five feet tall - this reliance on the, government appointed, Supreme Court to limit government power is the problem.94.0.66.230 (talk) 16:54, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Who were the Justices serving on the Supreme Court in that September 1933 - January 1934 time frame? Which presidents appointed them? bd2412 T 17:13, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Executive orders are not laws, they're simply directives of executive policy. Only Congress can define an activity as criminal. 71.203.209.0 14:27, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I am not a lawyer, but I play one on the internet. This one probably was illegal. The Ninth Amendment probably made it illegal, the Tenth Amendment may have, it's clearly a violation of Due Process.
Imagine an arrest being made, and someone asking what law he's being charged of breaking.
The Great Depression was an interesting time in the US legal system. 69.12.143.197 16:46, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Executive orders are the mechanism by which the Imperial Presidency overrides the rule of law - in this case to seize all personally owned gold. Who said America was a democracy?

America WAS a democracy during the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (don't ask me about what it is now). FDR did not override the rule of law. The article addresses InternetLawyer a.k.a. user 69.12.143.197's objection, which seems to me, as another non-lawyer, like a reasonable point! This is what the article says now:
"There was only one prosecution under the order [on 27 September 1933], and in that case the order was ruled invalid by federal judge John M. Woolsey, on the grounds that the order was signed by the President, not the Secretary of the Treasury as required."
Roosevelt's Executive Order was NOT law, and was not enforceable. The one case, the prosecution of New York attorney F.B. Campbell, eventually resulted in gold being confiscated. But this was how it was effected:
"The case forced the Roosevelt administration to issue a new order under the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., which was in force for a few months until the passage of the Gold Reserve Act on January 30, 1934."
There is a matter of timing, between 28 September 1933, then Morgenthau's order, then the Gold Reserve Act passage on 30 January 1934. If I were leading a Congressional inquiry or commission investigating FDR, I would track that down. I'm not though. --FeralOink (talk) 06:39, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Obviously nobody bothered to read the actual order & the cited authorities. Like most EOs, it begins with the basis of the authority for what follows in the rest of the order....

By virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 5(b) of the Act of October 6, 1917, as amended by Section 2 of the Act of March 9, 1933, entitled “An Act to provide relief in the existing national emergency in banking, and for other purposes”, . . .

So in short, Congress had already outlined the possible criminal penalties, etc., and the delegation of the responsibility of how & when the President can enforce those provisions, in the Trading with Enemy Act of 1917 as amended by the Emergency Banking Relief Act a month or so before this order was issued. All FDR did was follow what Congress had already authorized any President to do without any further need for Congress to sign off it (again) by clarifying a particular circumstance (relating to the hoarding of gold during a national emergency) which fell under those provisions of previously enacted law(s). -- George Orwell III (talk) 21:02, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Conflict of interest concerns.[edit]

FYI: I've been having trouble with User:Esoule who has been editing elsewhere under circumstances in which there is a clear conflict of interest. I thought to check that user's edit history and I noticed an edit to this article from 30th November 2007 in which that user added:

"On the evening August 15, 1971 in New Orleans, Louisiana, James U. Blanchard, III and Evan R. Soulé, Jr. founded the National Committee to Legalize Gold (NCLG) in response to President Nixon's announcement that the United States was abandoning the gold standard. Over the next several years, the NCLG waged a national campaign to enable American citizens to again own gold in any form. The campaign included repeated national mailings and regional press conferences in which the U.S. Treasury Department was challenged to act when an illegal bar of gold bullion was displayed to the newsmedia. The NCLG hired a 1926 Steerman bi-plane to continuously fly over Washington, D.C. during Nixon's Inauguration in January 1973 with a banner that read "LEGALIZE GOLD" -- an action which received national publicity. In New Orleans in February 1974, the NCLG held the largest (up to that time) privately-sponsored monetary symposium entitled "Investing Towards Freedom". That symposium further galvanized actions in support of proposed Congressional legislation to legalize private ownership of gold in any form. Several decades later, derivatives of that first symposium continue every Fall in New Orleans."

(Note my highlighting).

You might want to investigate the accuracy and relevence of this (somewhat autobiographical) addition in the light of this editor's history.

SteveBaker (talk) 12:44, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

As it was unsourced, i just now removed it from the article. DGG (talk) 02:37, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Reference the following URL: http://www.coinmag.com/archive/spring99/tribute.html which includes reference to "Confessions of a Gold Bug" (Adam Smith Publishing 1990). That book describes the origins and campaigns of the National Committee to Legalize Gold (NCLG) which began on August 15, 1971. ESoule (talk) 14:15, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

This article is about an executive order to end the gold standard. The above information though interesting isn't really proper in this article. I suggest someone making a new article about the NCLG or PL 93-373 and include the above information.Mantion (talk) 23:57, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
The EO is not about ending the US gold standard (which continued until 1971) but about preserving the Federal Reserves holdings of gold. Rod57 (talk) 16:43, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

6260[edit]

In the book "Investing in Gold and Silver" by Michael Maloney it mentions Executive Order 6260 as the one that outlawed ownership of Gold. From doing a little bit of research, I guess 6260 succeeded exec order 6102. -- Suso (talk) 12:48, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

False Rumors, Frederick Barber Campbell, etc[edit]

I substantially added to the clarity and factuality of this article by citing the two most important gold cases in the 1930s, the Frederick Barber Campbell case and the Josefowitz case (1936). I also deleted two paragraphs on monetary policy which appear to have to been written with the view of explaining the rationale for the order but really were just unclear and more or less irrelevant to the subject matter.

Also, I think it is important to address the false "gold seizure" rumors which are very widespread on the internet so I added a section to debunk those myths. I should also mention that I read every issue of the New York Times in April of 1933 for mentions of this topic of which there were several. The gist of these articles is basically that the gold turn in was voluntarily. There is absolutely no mention of safety deposit boxes being seized in any issue of the New York Times during the month of April 1933. Also, it is worth mentioning that in June or July of 1934 Time Magazine had an article on gold turn ins to the Treasury stating the substantial amounts of gold turned in since the enactment of the Reserve Act on January 30th, 1934. This article reinforces the voluntary nature of the turn ins.

John Chamberlain (talk) 00:30, 2 November 2008 (UTC)


I removed parts of the hoax (a/k/a rumor), as many people have cut-and-paste that section from the Wikipedia page into forums, and either assumed or wanted others to believe it was real. Hopefully, the "..." sections will make it a bit more clear that that it isn't the real 6102 text.

FWIW, the first version of this article was just the text of the hoax.

AboutSilver (talk) 13:40, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Still in effect?[edit]

I don't think it says anywhere if this is still in effect today or if it's not being enforced anymore. Shadowcelibi (talk) 17:59, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

The last paragraph of the lead reads The limitation on gold ownership in the U.S. was repealed ... legalizing private ownership of gold coins, bars and certificates ... December 31,1974. —EncMstr (talk) 18:08, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Constitution's gold clause??[edit]

What is the gold clause in the US Constitution?Mulp (talk) 06:47, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Reasons?[edit]

Nothing is said about the reasons. A opening paragraph about it, why actually this act was introduced? ~~Merewyn —Preceding unsigned comment added by 149.156.124.19 (talk) 13:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

The reason was to ensure that the us dollar maintained its value (aka so it did not inflate during the depression) - since gold and silver were the primary forms of currency beyond dollars, by restricting these -> they ensured dollars would be used instead. Also it helped keep big businesses and banks from converting their wealth into gold/ silver during hard times - which would have spelled the end for the dollar. --74.69.2.116 (talk) 09:31, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Can we have sources for those reasons and logic please. Was there any public discussion of the justification in 1932/33 ? Also, EO6102 only mentions gold and not silver so maybe the reason was more to do with the US trying to maintain the gold standard ? Rod57 (talk) 15:14, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
... Transcript of FDR radio broadcast FDR says "What, then, happened during the last few days of February [1933] and the first few days of March? Because of undermined confidence on the part of the public, there was a general rush by a large portion of our population to turn bank deposits into currency or gold—a rush so great that the soundest banks couldn’t get enough currency to meet the demand. The reason for this was that on the spur of the moment it was, of course, impossible to sell perfectly sound assets of a bank and convert them into cash except at panic prices far below their real value. By the afternoon of March 3, a week ago last Friday, scarcely a bank in the country was open to do business. Proclamations closing them in whole or in part had been issued by the governors in almost all of the states." FDR doesn't say what caused the undermined confidence but posssibly there were rumours of banks being near collapse. Rod57 (talk) 15:22, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
The March 6th proclamation declaring a 4 day bank holiday to reorganise shaky banks does mention silver as well as gold. The proclamation states that "speculative activity abroad in foreign exchange has resulted in severe drains on the nation's stocks of gold". (possibly USA had issued too many paper dollars causing inflationary pressures requiring US to deliver gold to maintain the gold standard of $20/oz gold) Rod57 (talk) 15:40, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Opening para could say that the EO6102 followed on from the March 6 proclamation that essentially froze gold and silver holdings. Rod57 (talk) 15:52, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Great Depression says "One reason why the Federal Reserve did not act to limit the decline of the money supply was regulation. At that time, the amount of credit the Federal Reserve could issue was limited by the Federal Reserve Act, which required 40% gold backing of Federal Reserve Notes issued. By the late 1920s, the Federal Reserve had almost hit the limit of allowable credit that could be backed by the gold in its possession. This credit was in the form of Federal Reserve demand notes. A "promise of gold" is not as good as "gold in the hand", particularly when they only had enough gold to cover 40% of the Federal Reserve Notes outstanding. During the bank panics a portion of those demand notes were redeemed for Federal Reserve gold. Since the Federal Reserve had hit its limit on allowable credit, any reduction in gold in its vaults had to be accompanied by a greater reduction in credit. On April 5, 1933, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 making the private ownership of gold certificates, coins and bullion illegal, reducing the pressure on Federal Reserve gold.[28]" Rod57 (talk) 16:22, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Removal of the constraint on the Federal Reserve is surely the main rationale for the executive order, as per the preceding para. As this is currently missing from the article, I propose to incorporate it via an appropriate edit Clivemacd (talk) 18:01, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Unconstitutional (and criminal!) nature[edit]

This act seems to contravene basics tenets of private property. If I walked into somebody's house and demanded they surrender one of the home entertainment systems they have hoarded in their house to me for a price that I determine (or more to the point, on an IOU that I write on a rubbish piece of paper), I would be thrown into jail for stealing. This would be the case in just about any country on earth. Despite the fact that there are reasons given : "to stabilize the economy... etc...", I think those excuses are extremely weak. In a system of competing currencies (dollar vs gold etc); a weak currency should be allowed to fail. There is also a marked irony in that instead of gold being hoarded in a distributed fashion throughout the economy; the government would now hoard instead - only, in an even greater concentration.

To my mind; this was a crime of extraordinary proportions; probably aimed at profiting only a very small few. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AlexBehrman (talkcontribs) 03:24, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

This is not an Act [of Congress] but an executive order issued by the President under the authority granted to him previously within some already standing law. The focus of your concern and/or displesures with this order's particulars should probably be laid at the feet of Section 2 of the Emergency Banking Relief Act instead, which is the statutue that originally provided the Congressional authority for the President to issue this and similar executive orders lawfully during what was at the time a period of declared national emergency.
The later Banking Act of 1933 allowed for pretty much the same authorities being granted by Congress to the President as the EBR Act did. -- George Orwell III (talk) 05:14, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
AlexBehrman, that makes no sense. You said that it was unconstitutional and criminal:
"to stabilize the economy... etc..., I think those excuses are extremely weak. In a system of competing currencies (dollar vs gold etc); a weak currency should be allowed to fail."
We're talking about the U.S.A.'s own currency. This was monetary policy within the United States. Why would the U.S. (or any country) say, "Our currency is weak. We should allow it to fail."? (Gold is not part of a system of competing currencies. What country uses gold as its currency? None, not that I know of.)
A sovereign nation is allowed to determine its own monetary policy. Cyprus took whatever measures were necessary just recently in an effort to prevent the collapse of its banking system. The U.S.A. took similar extreme measures, in equally dire circumstances, in 1933. There are similarities, in that Cyprus was tied to the EU, could not devalue its currency, which has some resemblance to the U.S.A. when on a gold standard, see the previous section of the talk page prior to this, but that is secondary.
There was no "crime of extraordinary proportions". In 1933, the U.S.A. was a disaster, full of homeless, starving people. FDR's policies led to greater employment and increased prosperity, which was fairly distributed, in the years that followed. The current government spending and so-called recovery is resulting in greater UNemployment and DEcreased prosperity (for all except a very, very few). That isn't FDR's fault! --FeralOink (talk) 07:07, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

А как же "священное и неприкосновенное право частной собственности"?[edit]

И господа амеркианцы ещё пытаются учить нас, русских, демократии! ЧуваевНиколай (talk) 17:17, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

First of all, this is the English Wikipedia, so we expect discussions to be in English.
Secondly, this is a talk page for discussing improvements to the article, not chat about the topic. Please see the talk page guidelines. —EncMstr (talk) 06:30, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Bias?[edit]

The article headline "Invalidation and reissue" suggests that there were no consequences to the prosecution of Frederick Barber Campbell, but later in the article, it is made clear that the feds came in and confiscated the gold anyway! A better title might be "Lawyer's Gold Confiscated." 106.56.135.47 (talk) 03:24, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Deleted "500 tonnes sold" text[edit]

Approximately 500 tonnes of gold were sold to the U.S. Treasury in 1933 at the rate of $20.67 per troy ounce A "sale" is a voluntary act between two willing parties, and the Executive Order 6102 confiscated privately owned metal and gave them what the government determined was compensation.Jonny Quick (talk) 02:42, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Prosecutions section[edit]

I'm not sure what the value of the prosecutions section is; most of them seem to be disconnected newspaper clippings found by random internet searches, and most are skimpy enough on the details that it's hard to tell whether this order was the primary reason for the prosecution. Additionally, since they're essentially disconnected anecdotes, they don't really give a comprehensive view of the order, its effect, and the way it was enforced -- it's just a bunch of random stories put together to form some sort of arbitrary narrative. Shouldn't it be removed and replaced with something that draws on scholarly analysis rather than a random selection of primary sources? --Aquillion (talk) 20:56, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Putting the "order" in its proper historical context will always be an uphill battle as long as the conspiracy theory folks feel the need to point to it for any number of generally absurd modern-day reasons - just search Google for it.
The authority to carry out the provisions outlined in the order, including the possibility of prosecution for non-compliance, etc. was delegated to the President by Congress in an amendment or amendments to the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 via the passage of the Emergency Banking Act of 1933 into law.
The order is just a vehicle that provides notice to all the affected Federal departments and/or agencies to be made aware of the fact that new authority or authorities have been delegated to the Executive by Congress. It is merely merely a trigger and not the gun - the legislation was. -- George Orwell III (talk) 07:11, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Section on "Similar laws in other countries" is very thin[edit]

Australia was by no means the only other country to have such a law. Britain, for example, had a similar law, though I'm not sure of the dates (1931(?)-1980 (?) ). I wonder if someone who is well informed on the subject could add a list (with relevant dates) of other countries that have had similar laws. Norvo (talk) 22:59, 14 March 2015 (UTC)