For a while, it seemed impossible to lose money on real estate. But then the bubble burst. The financial sector was paralyzed and the economy contracted. State and federal governments struggled to pay their domestic and foreign creditors. Washington was incapable of decisive action. The country seethed with political and social unrest. In America's First Great Depression,For a while, it seemed impossible to lose money on real estate. But then the bubble burst. The financial sector was paralyzed and the economy contracted. State and federal governments struggled to pay their domestic and foreign creditors. Washington was incapable of decisive action. The country seethed with political and social unrest. In America's First Great Depression, Alasdair Roberts describes how the United States dealt with the economic and political crisis that followed the Panic of 1837.As Roberts shows, the two decades that preceded the Panic had marked a democratic surge in the United States. However, the nation's commitment to democracy was tested severely during this crisis. Foreign lenders questioned whether American politicians could make the unpopular decisions needed on spending and taxing. State and local officials struggled to put down riots and rebellion. A few wondered whether this was the end of America's democratic experiment.Roberts explains how the country's woes were complicated by its dependence on foreign trade and investment, particularly with Britain. Aware of the contemporary relevance of this story, Roberts examines how the country responded to the political and cultural aftershocks of 1837, transforming its political institutions to strike a new balance between liberty and social order, and uneasily coming to terms with its place in the global economy....
|Title||:||America's First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder After the Panic of 1837|
|Number of Pages||:||264 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
America's First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder After the Panic of 1837 Reviews
Book ReviewAlasdair RobertsAmerica's First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837Available in book; ebook & audiobook formats“Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.” Walter BenjaminHow is an economic recession different from an economic depression? There are economic measurements (often quite arbitrary) that define the difference, but they often exclude the political and sociological dimensions of economic depressions. Recessions occur much more frequently and are linked to the rise and fall of capital markets. In most cases, recessions present political and economic management problems for ruling elites, but they are often not problems of historical magnitude.An economic depression on the other hand is a very serious problem for the state and the international economic order. Depressions have a huge and lasting impact that resonates through the system of rule, forcing elites out and in many cases creating new elites. All of this is usually in the context of explosive social struggles that redefine the relationships between classes in society. Depressions can be triggers for social revolution, reaction and war (obviously, the most notable is the economic depression that follows from the crash of 1929).So it was with great interest that I found out that the United States had a depression from 1937 to 1848 (dovetailing nicely with the rise of the European revolutions of 1848- in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and the Austrian Empire). I am particularly interested in this era of American history because it was the time when the modern United States was taking shape, before the great convulsions of the civil war that went from 1861 to 1865. In the first half of the 19th century the United States was right in the middle of its westward and Southern expansion, a process of centralising the authority of the American state and the annexation of regions such as Texas and California. None of this expansion is occurring in a vacuum. Conquest and expansion (such as the incorporation of the Republic of Texas into the United States) were hard fought political and economic contests where Black, White, Native American and Hispanics paid a price in blood and suffering for the nations involved (principally the United States; Mexico and the various Native American nations)Roberts account details the widespread convulsions that occurred as well as discussing the possible causes of economic collapse. An important element was (surprise surprise) the uncontrolled property speculation and the ready availability of affordable finance. The economic collapse had its most devastating impact on American states because at the time the federal government in Washington only had very limited power and influence. The collapse of state finances was a major reason for the rise in power and influence of major centers in the US i.e. Washington and New York. All modern states have a moment in history when power is consolidated and centralised in the economic and/or political capital. That moment in the United States began in 1837 and finished in 1865, when President Lincoln and General Grant bludgeoned the southern confederacy to defeat and surrender.The book also examines the wider impact of the depression, in particular the role of British and European capital markets and the responses of their governments to the change in risk presented by the economic collapse of state governments. There are also sections of the book devoted to the ‘law and order’ issues, in other words to the rise of social unrest and the response of states and governments to that unrest, which includes a significant expansion and reorganisation of policing and surveillance functions of the state. There is a substantial discussion of the Dorr rebellion in Rhode Island (1841-42). The rebellion (however incompetently led) was born out of anger at property restrictions on voting rights in the Rhode Island charter, which put control of that states government in the hands of wealthy landowners.This is an illuminating work backed by impressive research. People who have an interest in history will at least have a vague idea of what the consequences of the great Depression of the 1930s were (ie. poverty, misery, suffering, social struggle and world war). Its very useful to have an earlier historical and economic convulsion to make comparisons and most importantly to learn.
This is an interesting short work about the Panic of 1837, the collapse and recovery of the U.S. economy from 1837-1848, and the political and social effects of the crisis. According to the author, a combination of land speculation, changes in the Bank of England's interest rate, and errors in U.S. monetary policy led to the crisis. In the aftermath, banks closed, state governments defaulted on their debts, protests turned violent, and the American people got so mad at England that they went to war against Mexico. One harrowing chapter goes into three episodes of violence. In one, the disenfranchised men of Rhode Island attempted to elect their own government, were crushed, and inspired constitutional reform. In another, tenant farmers in New York rebelled against recovery of back rents, were crushed, and inspired land reform. In the third, poor people in Philadelphia attacked one another, were crushed, and inspired the establishment of a modern police force. Although the author shows a bias in this chapter, blaming the protesters for lashing out when the legal authorities would do nothing, the stories themselves show that these movements weren't all in vain. All in all, this is an interesting, quick read. It goes into history that isn't much covered in schools, and shows how economic crises can be exacerbated when people in power don't understand economics and finance.
It's amazing how the events of 1837, almost 200 years ago can shed light on today's economy and the reactions to it. So often we read history as the lives of great heroes or dramatic wars, but the economic realities of states and countries going into debt, people losing their farms and homes, and businesses failing are equally important. Alasdair Roberts writes for those of us who haven't studied economics and don't want to read too many facts and figures but are interested in how the economy affects our lives.
Very interesting. Obviously written to compare to our current economic crisis, there were some unexpected (to me) similarities, particularly the political deadlock that is so familiar. I learned a lot and was able to let go of some frustrations with how this crisis has been handled. Seeing the patterns in history lets you know that this moment in time is not entirely unique and people are always going to be people, in whatever century.
So far, the underlying Keynesian underpinnings are showing...