The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893 and ended in 1897. It deeply affected every sector of the economy, and produced political upheaval that led to the realigning election of 1896 and the presidency of William McKinley.
One of the causes for the Panic of 1893 can be traced back to Argentina. Investment was encouraged by the Argentine agent bank, Baring Brothers. However, the 1890 wheat crop failure and a coup in Buenos Aires ended further investments. Because European investors were concerned that these problems might spread, they started a run on gold in the U.S. Treasury. At that time, it was comparatively simple to cash in dollar investments for exportable gold. During the Gilded Age of the 1870s and 1880s, the United States had experienced economic growth and expansion, but much of this expansion depended on high international commodity prices. In 1893, wheat prices crashed.
One of the first clear signs of trouble came on February 20, 1893, twelve days before the inauguration of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, with the appointment of receivers for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, which had greatly overextended itself. Upon taking office, Cleveland dealt directly with the Treasury crisis and successfully convinced Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which he felt was mainly responsible for the economic crisis.
As concern for the state of the economy deepened, people rushed to withdraw their money from banks, and caused bank runs. The credit crunch rippled through the economy. A financial panic in London combined with a drop in continental European trade caused foreign investors to sell American stocks to obtain American funds backed by gold.
The People's Party, also known as the 'Populists', was an agrarian-populist political party in the United States. From 1892 to 1896, it played a major role as a left-wing force in American politics. It drew support from angry farmers in the West and South. It was highly critical of capitalism, especially banks and railroads, and allied itself with the labor movement.
Established in 1891 as a result of the Populist movement, the People's Party reached its zenith in the 1892 presidential election, when its ticket, composed of James B. Weaver and James G. Field, won 8.5% of the popular vote and carried five states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada and North Dakota), and the 1894 House of Representatives elections, when it won nine seats. Built on a coalition of poor, white cotton farmers in the South (especially North Carolina, Alabama and Texas) and hard-pressed wheat farmers in the Plains states (especially Kansas and Nebraska), the Populists represented a radical crusading form of agrarianism and hostility to elites, cities, banks, railroads, and gold.
The Free Silver movement arose from a synergy of farming and mining interests. Farmers sought to invigorate the economy and thereby end deflation, which was forcing them to repay loans with increasingly valuable dollars. Mining interests sought the right to turn silver directly into money without a central minting institution. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, while falling short of the Free Silver movement's goals, required the U.S. government to buy millions of ounces of silver above what was required by the 1878 Bland–Allison Act (driving up the price of silver and pleasing silver miners). People attempted to redeem silver notes for gold. Ultimately, the statutory limit for the minimum amount of gold in federal reserves was reached and U.S. notes could no longer be successfully redeemed for gold. Investments during the time of the panic were heavily financed through bond issues with high interest payments. Rumors regarding the National Cordage Company's financial distress (NCC was the most actively traded stock at the time) caused its lenders to call in their loans immediately, and NCC went into bankruptcy receivership as a result. The company, a rope manufacturer, had tried to corner the market for imported hemp. As demand for silver and silver notes fell, the price and value of silver dropped. Holders worried about a loss of face value of bonds, and many became worthless.
A series of bank failures followed, and the Northern Pacific Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad failed. This was followed by the bankruptcy of many other companies; in total over 15,000 companies and 500 banks, many of them in the West, failed. According to high estimates, about 17%–19% of the workforce was unemployed at the panic's peak. The huge spike in unemployment, combined with the loss of life savings kept in failed banks, meant that a once-secure middle-class could not meet their mortgage obligations. Many walked away from recently built homes as a result.
As a result of the panic, stock prices declined. Five hundred banks closed, fifteen thousand businesses failed, and numerous farms ceased operation. The unemployment rate hit 25% in Pennsylvania, 35% in New York, and 43% in Michigan. Soup kitchens were opened to help feed the destitute. Facing starvation, people chopped wood, broke rocks, and sewed by hand with needle and thread in exchange for food. In some cases, women resorted to prostitution to feed their families. To help the people of Detroit, Mayor Hazen S. Pingree launched "Pingree's Potato Patch," which were community gardens for farming.
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, perhaps along with the protectionist McKinley Tariff of that year, has been partially blamed for the panic. Passed in response to a large overproduction of silver by western mines, the Sherman Act required the U.S. Treasury to purchase silver using notes backed by either silver or gold.
President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was blamed for the depression. He in turn blamed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Gold reserves stored in the Treasury fell to a dangerously low level. This forced President Cleveland to borrow $65 million in gold from Wall-Street banker J.P. Morgan and the Rothschild banking family of England.
The 1894 United States elections was held on November 6, and elected the members of the 54th United States Congress. These were mid-term elections during Democratic President Grover Cleveland's second term. The Republican landslide of 1894 marked a realigning election In American politics as the nation moved from the Third Party System that had focused on issues of civil war and reconstruction, and entered the Fourth Party System, known as the Progressive Era, which focused on middle class reforms.The Democrats suffered a landslide defeat in the House losing over 100 seats to the Republicans in the single largest swing in the history of the House. The Democrats also lost four seats in the Senate, thus resulting in the President's party completely losing control of both houses of Congress, the first time this ever happened in a midterm election.
The Democratic Party losses can be traced largely to the Panic of 1893 and the ineffective party leadership of Cleveland. Republicans effectively used the issues of the tariff, bimetallism, and the Cuban War of Independence against Cleveland. The Democrats suffered huge defeats outside the South (almost ninety percent of Northeastern and Midwestern House Democrats lost re-election), and the Democratic Party underwent a major turnover in party leadership. With the defeat of many Bourbon Democrats, William Jennings Bryan took the party in a more populist direction starting with the 1896 elections.1896 United States elections
The 1896 United States elections elected the 55th United States Congress. Republicans won control of the Presidency and maintained control of both houses of Congress. The election marked the end of the Third Party System and the start of the Fourth Party System, as Republicans would generally dominate politics until the 1930 elections. Political scientists such as V.O. Key, Jr. argue that this election was a realigning election, while James Reichley argues against this idea on the basis that the Republican victory in this election merely continued the party's post-Civil War dominance. The election took place in the aftermath of the Panic of 1893, and featured a fierce debate between advocates of bimetallism ("free silver") and supporters of the gold standard.In the Presidential election, Republican former Governor William McKinley of Ohio defeated Democratic former Representative William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska. McKinley took the Republican nomination on the first ballot, while Bryan took the Democratic nomination on the fifth ballot (at age 36, he became youngest presidential nominee of a major party), defeating former Missouri Representative Richard P. Bland and several other candidates. Bryan's Cross of Gold speech, in which he advocated for "free silver," helped deliver him the Democratic nomination, and also attracted the support of the Populist Party and the Silver Republican Party. Though Bryan carried most of the South and the West, McKinley won a comfortable margin in both the electoral college and the popular vote by carrying the Northeast and the Great Lakes region.
Democrats won major gains in the House, but Republicans continued to command a large majority in the chamber. The Populists also won several seats, holding more seats in the House than any third party since the Civil War.In the Senate, the Republicans maintained their plurality, keeping control of the same number of seats. The Democrats lost several seats, while the Silver Republicans established themselves for the first time with five seats. Republican William P. Frye won election as President pro tempore.Claude Matthews
Claude Matthews (December 14, 1845 – August 28, 1898) was the 23rd Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana from 1893 to 1897. A farmer, he was nominated to prevent the loss of voters to the Populist Party. The Panic of 1893 occurred just before he took office, leading to severe economic problems during his term. Republicans took the Indiana General Assembly in the 1894 mid-term election and repudiated many of the Democrats' laws, leading to violence in the assembly. A popular party figure when he left office, he was a nominee to run for president at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, but lost his bid for the nomination to William Jennings Bryan .Evans Block (Sioux City, Iowa)
The Evans Block, also known as Northwestern National Bank Building, is a historic building located in Sioux City, Iowa, United States. The city experienced a building boom that began in the late 1880s and continued into the early 1890s. Fred T. Evans, an entrepreneur who had business interests in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, had this building constructed to house Northwestern National Bank of which he was the president. The bank occupied the main level and other offices were housed on the upper floors. Local architect Charles Brown designed the four-story Romanesque Revival style building. The Black Hills sandstone for the public facades was from Evans' quarry. The Panic of 1893 brought Sioux City's building boom to an end, and the Evans block was sold in January 1895. Subsequently, the building has housed a hotel, a factory, a saloon, and a variety of stores. It was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and as a contributing property in the Fourth Street Historic District in 1995.Frankfort, Washington
Frankfort was originally settled in 1876 in Pacific County on the mouth of the Columbia River near Portuguese Point. In 1890, a community was platted by two promoters, Frank Bourn and Frank Scott (whence the name). Together they envisioned a resort community at the location. Lots were sold on the rumor that the railroad would soon build a line through the town (the only access at the time was by boat). A post office, general store, hotel, saloon and a sawmill were built, and a newspaper (the Frankfort Chronicle) was established, which attracted even more investors. The financial Panic of 1893 scared away any more investors, and the future of the town took a downhill turn.
Frankfort continued to survive mainly as a logging town until the late 1940s. Unfortunately, no railroad line ever materialized and Frankfort never prospered. The post office had closed in 1918. The town was sold to a logging company in 1953 and by 1960, it had only two residents.Free silver
Free silver was a major economic policy issue in late-19th-century American politics. Its advocates were in favor of an expansionary monetary policy featuring the unlimited coinage of silver into money on demand, as opposed to strict adherence to the more carefully fixed money supply implicit in the gold standard. Supporters of an important place for silver in a bimetallic money system making use of both silver and gold, called "Silverites", sought coinage of silver dollars at a fixed weight ratio of 16-to-1 against dollar coins made of gold. Because the actual price ratio of the two metals was substantially higher in favor of gold at the time, most economists warned that the less valuable silver coinage would drive the more valuable gold out of circulation.
While all agreed that an expanded money supply would inevitably raise prices, at issue was whether or not this inflationary tendency would be beneficial. The issue peaked from 1893 to 1896, when the economy was wracked by a severe depression—remembered as the Panic of 1893—characterized by falling prices (deflation), high unemployment in industrial areas, and severe distress for farmers.The "free silver" debate pitted the pro-gold financial establishment of the Northeast, along with railroads, factories, and businessmen, who were creditors deriving benefit from deflation and repayment of loans with valuable gold dollars, against farmers who would benefit from higher prices for their crops and a lightening of credit burdens. Free silver was especially popular among farmers in the Wheat Belt (the western Midwest) and the Cotton Belt (the Deep South), as well as silver miners in the West. It had little support among farmers in the Northeast and the Corn Belt (the eastern Midwest).
Free silver was the central issue for Democrats in the presidential elections of 1896 and 1900, under the leadership of William Jennings Bryan, famed for his Cross of Gold speech in favor of free silver. The Populists also endorsed Bryan and free silver in 1896, which marked the effective end of their independence. In major elections free silver was consistently defeated, and after 1896 the nation moved to the gold standard.The debate over silver lasted from the passage of the Fourth Coinage Act in 1873, which demonetized silver and was called the "Crime of '73" by opponents, until 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act completely overhauled the U.S. monetary system.Gay Nineties
The Gay Nineties is an American nostalgic term and a periodization of the history of the United States referring to the decade of the 1890s. It is known in the United Kingdom as the Naughty Nineties, and refers there to the decade of supposedly decadent art of Aubrey Beardsley, the witty plays and trial of Oscar Wilde, society scandals and the beginning of the suffragette movement.Despite the term, the decade was marked by an economic crisis, which greatly worsened when the Panic of 1893 set off a widespread economic depression in the United States that lasted until 1896.History of Dallas (1874–1929)
The history of Dallas, Texas, United States from 1874 to 1929 documents the city's rapid growth and emergence as a major center for transportation, trade and finance. Originally a small community built around agriculture, the convergence of several railroads made the city a strategic location for several expanding industries. During the time, Dallas prospered and grew to become the most populous city in Texas, lavish steel and masonry structures replaced timber constructions, Dallas Zoo, Southern Methodist University, and an airport were established. Conversely, the city suffered multiple setbacks with a recession from a series of failing markets (the "Panic of 1893") and the disastrous flooding of the Trinity River in the spring of 1908.James A. Mount
James Atwell Mount (March 24, 1843 – January 16, 1901) was the 24th Governor of Indiana from 1897 to 1901. His term coincided with the economic recovery following the Panic of 1893, and focused primarily on industrial regulations and advancement of agriculture. As governor during the Spanish–American War, he oversaw the formation as dispatch of the state levies and played an important role in changing national policy to permit African-Americans serve as army officers.John B. Goodwin
John Benjamin Goodwin (September 22, 1850 – May 12, 1921) was born in Cobb County, Georgia, United States the son of and attended school in Powder Springs.
He moved to Atlanta in 1870 and studied law at Gartrell & Stephens and a year later was admitted to the bar.
From 1872 to 1874, he was a reporter for Alexander St. Clair-Abrams at the Daily Herald after which he returned to law.
He served on the city council off and on from then until 1883 when he was elected mayor, after which he served over ten years as city attorney, then served as mayor a second time during the Panic of 1893. He left the city in 1901 and for 16 years served as the grand secretary of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.He died in 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland.John C. Koch
John C. Koch (October 18, 1841 – September 9, 1907) was a Republican politician who served two terms as mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Koch was born in 1841 near Hamburg, Germany. He moved with his family to Milwaukee in 1854. He became a tinner in his father's shop, Later he gained employment at John Pritzlaff Hardware Company and went on to become an executive there.
Koch received his party's nomination for lieutenant-governor in 1892. He was instead elected mayor of Milwaukee in that year, and was reelected to a second two-year term in 1894. His first term saw the Panic of 1893.John G. Carlisle
John Griffin Carlisle (September 5, 1834 – July 31, 1910) was a prominent American politician in the Democratic Party during the last quarter of the 19th century. He served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, from 1883 to 1889 and afterward served as Secretary of the Treasury, from 1893 to 1897, during the Panic of 1893. As a Bourbon Democrat he was a leader of the conservative, pro-business wing of the party, along with President Grover Cleveland.Morgan dollar
The Morgan dollar was a United States dollar coin minted from 1878 to 1904, and again in 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar minted since production of the previous design, the Seated Liberty dollar, ceased due to the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which also ended the free coining of silver. The coin is named after its designer, United States Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan. The obverse depicts a profile portrait representing Liberty, while the reverse depicts an eagle with wings outstretched.
The dollar was authorized by the Bland–Allison Act. Following the passage of the 1873 act, mining interests lobbied to restore free silver, which would require the Mint to accept all silver presented to it and return it, struck into coin. Instead, the Bland–Allison Act was passed, which required the Treasury to purchase between two and four million dollars' worth of silver at market value to be coined into dollars each month. In 1890, the Bland–Allison Act was repealed by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which required the Treasury to purchase 4,500,000 troy ounces (140,000 kg) of silver each month, but only required further silver dollar production for one year. This act, once again, was repealed in 1893.
In 1898, Congress approved a bill that required all remaining bullion purchased under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to be coined into silver dollars. When those silver reserves were depleted in 1904, the Mint ceased to strike the Morgan dollar. The Pittman Act, passed in 1918, authorized the melting and recoining of millions of silver dollars. Pursuant to the act, Morgan dollars resumed mintage for one year in 1921. The design was replaced by the Peace dollar later the same year.
In the early 1960s, a large quantity of uncirculated Morgan dollars in their original bags were discovered in the Treasury vaults, including issues once thought rare. Individuals began purchasing large quantities of the pieces at face value, and eventually the Treasury ceased exchanging silver certificates for silver coin. Beginning in the 1970s, the Treasury conducted a sale of silver dollars minted at the Carson City Mint through the General Services Administration. In 2006, Morgan's reverse design was used on a silver dollar issued to commemorate the old San Francisco Mint building.Oregon Iron Company
The Oregon Iron Company was an iron smelting company located in what is now Lake Oswego, Oregon. The company was established in 1865, and in 1867 became the first company west of the Rocky Mountains in the United States to smelt iron. The company failed after a few years, but was reorganized as the Oswego Iron Company in 1878, and again as the Oregon Iron and Steel Company in 1883. With the addition of a larger furnace, the last incarnation of the company prospered, reaching peak production in 1890. By 1894, however, pressure from cheaper imported iron combined with the effects of the Panic of 1893 forced the company to close its smelter. The company continued to operate a pipe foundry until 1928, and until the early 1960s, existed as a land management company, selling its real estate holdings which expanded the city of Lake Oswego.Panic of 1896
The Panic of 1896 was an acute economic depression in the United States that was less serious than other panics of the era, precipitated by a drop in silver reserves, and market concerns on the effects it would have on the gold standard. Deflation of commodities' prices drove the stock market to new lows in a trend that began to reverse only after the 1896 election of William McKinley. The failure of the National Bank of Illinois in Chicago is remembered as one of the motivating factors in the sensational Adolph Luetgert murder case. During the panic, call money would reach 125 percent, the highest level since the Civil War.Portland Webfeet
The Portland Webfeet were a Minor League Baseball team in the Pacific Northwest League. They were located in Portland, Oregon and played at Columbia Park. They were active from 1890 to 1892.
In 1891 the Webfeet won the league championship, even playing teams from the California League, including Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. The Pacific Northwest League folded in the second half of the 1892 season due to the onset of a nationwide economic depression known as the Panic of 1893.Shipping during the Panic of 1893
The Panic of 1893 affected many aspects of the shipping industry, both by rail and by sea. It arrested the acquisition of ships and rolling stock, and pushed down shipping rates.Timeline of Negro league baseball teams
The following is a timeline of the evolution of major-league-caliber franchises in Negro league baseball. The franchises included are those of high-caliber independent teams prior to the organization of formal league play in 1920 and concludes with the dissolution of the remnant of the last major Negro league team, the Kansas City Monarchs then based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in about 1966. (The Indianapolis Clowns continued on through about 1988, but they had morphed into an entertainment act much as the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team of today.) All teams who played a season while a member of a major Negro league are included. The major leagues are the original Negro National League, the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, the East–West League, the second Negro National League and the Negro American League. Teams from the 1932 original Negro Southern League are also included which allows for the inclusion of the few high caliber minor Negro league teams.
The two thick gray lines represent trying times: the first is the Panic of 1893 and the second is the Great Depression in 1933. Both crisis led to financial ruin and collapse of most teams and leagues. The two thick black lines represent the formation of organized league play in 1920 and the integration of Major League Baseball in 1946. After integration, the level of play deteriorated rapidly and dramatically. By 1950 all teams were considered to be of minor league status.William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign, 1900
The 1900 United States presidential election took place after an economic recovery from the Panic of 1893 as well as after the Spanish–American War, with the economy, foreign policy, and imperialism being the main issues of the campaign. Ultimately, the incumbent U.S. President William McKinley ended up defeating the anti-imperialist William Jennings Bryan and thus won a second four-year term in office.