In the spring of 1837, people panicked as financial and economic uncertainty spread within and between New York, New Orleans and London. Although the period of panic would dramatically influence political, cultural and social history, those who panicked sought to erase from history their experiences of one of America's worst early financial crises. The Many Panics of 1837 reconstructs this period in order to make arguments about the national boundaries of history, the role of information in the economy, the personal and local nature of national and international events, the origins and dissemination of economic ideas, and most importantly, what actually happened in 1837. This riveting transatlantic cultural history, based on archival research on two continents, reveals how people transformed their experiences of financial crisis into the 'Panic of 1837', a single event that would serve as a turning point in American history and an early inspiration for business cycle theory.
Jessica M. Lepler is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire. The Society of American Historians awarded her Brandeis University doctoral dissertation, '1837: Anatomy of a Panic', the 2008 Allan Nevins Prize. She has been the recipient of a Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society, a Dissertation Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in Early American Economy and Society, a John E. Rovensky Dissertation Fellowship in Business History and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education.
Introduction: the many panics of 1837; 1. A very gamblous affair; 2. The pressure of 1836; 3. Practical economists; 4. Mysterious whispers; 5. The many panics in 1837; 6. Parallel crises; 7. States of suspense; Epilogue: panic-less panics of 1837.