Wall Street’s First Collapse

Speculators caused a stock market crash in 1792, forcing the federal government to bail out New York bankers— and the nation

Wall Street’s first bubble swelled burst in the spring of 1792, exerting a profound effect on American politics and society. Nine years after the Treaty of Paris and the acknowledgement of the former colonies— independence, both Europe and America lay in turmoil. The French Revolution was showing its first symptoms of radical violence. In March an assassin’s bullet felled Sweden’s King Gustav III, who had called for a crusade against France. In the United States, President Washington struggled to fight a war against British-backed Indians in the Midwest.Read more »

Wall Street’s 10 Most Notorious Stock Traders

The country’s financial hub has a long history of lying, cheating, and stealing

No one likes recessions, but no one dislikes them more than the crooks who are an inevitable part of any financial market.

As the economy goes south, companies seeking to cut costs scrutinize their books more carefully and bring embezzlements to light. Investors take money out of higher-earning (and therefore inherently more risky) funds and put them into safer ones, and Ponzi schemes collapse as a result. Credit becomes tighter, and loan requests are more carefully investigated, so businesses with cooked books find their insolvency revealed. Read more »