Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Panic of 1837 / Part 2

Money money money m o n e y !

The creation of the First National Bank was necessary for the fledgling United States to pay off its debt from the War of 1812. Still, states thought they should have the right to coin and print their own currency.

To the left is an example of "private money," which was worth practically nothing, despite claiming a worth of $5. When Andrew Jackson decided this was ridiculous, he called for all money to be backed by "specie," or actual gold and silver. The bubble burst on May 10, 1837.

But, Jackson was no longer President! Poor Mr. Martin Van Buren, much like our current President, inherited this financial mess, and the bubble popped on his watch. The Panic of 1837 ensued, considered to be the first major Depression in America.

Elmer Ellsworth's father, Ephriam, lost his business as a tailor in this economic upheaval. EE told John Hay his father had been "ruined" by the Panic. This may have been only partly true. Yes, he lost the tailoring business, but he immediately "re-invented" himself as a butcher.

The more I read about the past, the more it all sounds like the present!!

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