1873 Bailout request from Charleston Chamber of Commerce
The Panic of 1873 was surely one of the worst economic depressions in the history of U.S. capitalism.
Reading issues of the NY Times from the early days of the depression, its easy to see certain superficial similarities. The government is not changing its policies, the recent innovation of the Greenback is credited for making things better, the NY Times “suggests” that some provision be made through the cities hospitals for the deserving poor in the coming Winter. The description of the deserving widow could have come from last years ‘Goodfellows’ drive, though in 1873, with no social safety net at all, the prospect of the widow and her children surviving the Winter would be considerably reduced.
A Senator defending government intervention in currency regulation is a Republican however, and he castigates the Democrats for economic non-intervention during the crises of 1857, 1847, 1837, and 1816! Coming out of the Civil War, the Republican Party was the party of central government and national economic policy.
Most surprising to me was the tiny article I’ve reproduced above, in which the Charleston Chamber of Commerce appears to plead for $500,000 from the Federal Treasury to pay off Northern creditors. South Carolina’s business elite were much more proactive in seeking federal aid during the wildest and woolliest days of unfettered capitalism than Sanford and company in the present day.