False dichotomy. He didn't say we were swimming in rivers of wine and roses.
The economy was definitely less vulnerable prior to the Fed. Recessions never were as bad as they got after the progressive movement of the early 1900s.
That is not really true. There were several very bad recessions in the 1800's, especially when Jackson was screwing around with the banking system, and around the time of railroad speculation in the 1890's. In reality, most modern day recessions are relatively mild in comparison to the economic bom and bust fluctuations that occurred from 1787 to 1941.