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Banking

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. Read more >>

A nineteenth-century blueprint for the savings-and-loan scandal

It was a banking system. The act that made it possible slipped through Congress with hardly any debate and little attention to economic reality. Many of its highestranking officials knew little or nothing about the peculiar nature of the banking business. Read more >>

S & L scandals, junk bonds, defaults—the pattern is familiar to anyone who knows about U.S. banking between 1830 and 1855.

My files bulge of late with stories that tell unedifying tales of cupidity and stupidity in world and national credit markets. Read more >>

A Scottish émigré became the most powerful man in the French government, and sold hundreds of thousands of shares in land holdings in the Mississippi Valley

The curious table shown opposite, with its montage of hand-painted scenes, commemorates a grand financial debacle in eighteenth-century France that was commonly known as the Mississippi Bubble. Read more >>

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