Central Question: What was the economic and social impact of the Panic of 1873?


Panic as a Health Officer Cleaning the Streets

Most Americans are familiar with the Great Depression, beginning in 1929, and the economic safety nets established in response to the crisis, such as Social Security and the right to collective bargaining, from 1933 to 1938. Some know of the equally dire economic conditions, starting in 1893, and how this spurred federal progressives like Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson to strengthen public oversight of corporate trusts, child labor, banking, monetary policy, and tariffs. Yet almost no one knows of the profound economic collapse that struck the United States following the Civil War or its equally substantial effect upon the social and political trajectory of the nation. The Panic of 1873 began in Europe, but quickly spread to the United States producing 65 months of depressed economic conditions.

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