The gold standard backs the value of money with gold so that people can convert currency into a set amount of gold. Congress would eliminate silver as an exchange option only in 1900 through the Gold Standard Act. The Fed was charged with maintaining the gold standard, but it indirectly loosened strict ties between the dollar and gold. Major historical events causing the gold standard to crumbleOnly a few short months after Congress created the Fed, the U.S. and European governments temporarily suspended the gold standard to fund military expenses during World War I. The United States only had a genuine gold standard for 54 years of its history, from 1879 to 1933.