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                 November, 2008

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  Recession, Depression or Panic
— Charles Hansen

        Are we in a recession, a depression? Hard to say so far the economic indicators say we are not officially in a recession yet, but people are losing their jobs, businesses are closing, banks are failing, houses are being foreclosed, so at least those affected think it is a depression. What happened to your ancestors during a panic?

        Below is a list of panics, recessions and depressions from Dick Eastman's blog, I have shortened the explanations of some from his list so you might want to go check his whole list.

        I have some Dutch ancestors that left Holland in the mid 1700's, wonder if they left due to the Dutch Tulip Bubble?. My ancestors settled in New Amsterdam and later moved up the Hudson, and around 1800 they started moving south, by 1807 they were in North Carolina, and soon started heading west to Tennessee and eventually Missouri. Looking at the dates below and knowing when my ancestors moved, looks like they moved just about every time when a panic was happening. Did your ancestors move during a panic? Did they lose everything?

        While I have lived through several recessions, I was born after the Great Depression, but my parents both lived through it and were very afraid of using too much credit or investing in the stock market. My mother's father worked for the Great Northern railroad from 1918 through 1947 and so he was pretty lucky to have a job all through the depression, but they still raised a garden, and canned fruits and vegetables they grew or bought in the fall. Grandma made her own soap, sewed clothes, curtains, and just about everything else that needed sewing.

        My dad's family were farmers, and while they grew almost everything they needed to eat, they had very little money left to pay off the farm, so my dad and his brother worked where ever they could to supplement the farm income and finally paid off the farm. They still were not very well off, but did survive the depression and lived till the mid 1960s.

        Did you experience the depression? Did your ancestors live through a panic? How did the panics or depressions change your family? Did they lose money in the stock market? Bank closings? Did they lose their house or farm? While I knew of a few of these panics, I was surprised by how many our ancestors lived through and I hope this recession is a short one.

        Notice how nearly all of the panics were fueled by speculators, the first one they speculated on tulip bulbs, till the bubble burst, the 1873 panic was spurred on by speculators speculating on the railroads, the great depression was started when the speculators in the stock market could not pay their margin accounts. And our current recession, speculators caused the housing market to go up very fast, but when the bubble burst it took a lot of banks and businesses into bankruptcy.

The Dutch Tulip Bubble    (1634—1637):
Even many who were wise enough to stay away from tulip bulb speculating lost their savings as a result of the general economic depression that resulted from the tulip bulb crash.
Panic of 1797    (1797—1800):
The effects of the deflation of the Bank of England crossed the Atlantic Ocean to North America and disrupted commercial and real estate markets in the United States and the Caribbean.
Depression of 1807    (1807—1814):
The United States Congress under President Thomas Jefferson passed the Embargo Act of 1807.
Panic of 1819    (1819—1824)
The first major financial crisis in the United States featured widespread foreclosures, bank failures, unemployment, and a slump in agriculture and manufacturing. It also marked the end of the economic expansion that followed the War of 1812.
Panic of 1837    (1837—1843)
Bank failures and lack of confidence in the paper currency caused a sharp downturn in the American economy. Speculation markets were greatly affected when American banks stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage).
Panic of 1857    (1857—1860)
Failure of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company burst a European speculative bubble in United States railroads and caused a loss of confidence in American banks.
Panic of 1873    (1873—1879)
Economic problems in Europe prompted the failure of the Jay Cooke & Company, the largest bank in the United States, which burst the post-Civil War speculative bubble.
Long Depression    (1873—1896)
The collapse of the Vienna Stock Exchange caused a depression that spread throughout the world. It is important to note that during this period, the global industrial production greatly increased. In the United States, for example, industrial output increased fourfold.
Panic of 1893    (1893—1896)
Failure of the United States Reading Railroad and withdrawal of European investment lead to a stock market and banking collapse.
Panic of 1907    (1907—1908)
A run on Knickerbocker Trust Company deposits on 22 October 1907 set events in motion that would lead to a severe monetary contraction.
The Great Depression    (1929—1939)

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