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The Panic of 1893
In the years preceding the outbreak of the panic, the nation’s money was victim to flagrant mismanagement by the Federal Government. The policies of Washington drove gold out of the country and hence undermined the sanctity of gold contracts, raised the distinct possibility of an abrupt switch to a depreciated silver standard, and introduced a confusing system of no less than nine different currencies. Worst of all, however, the federal government engineered a currency and credit expansion which made panic and depression inescapable. The day of reckoning arrived when the weight of these political interventions brought the economy to its knees. The Panic of 1893 was a crisis of political interference.
The Panic of 1893 and other factors had a lasting impact. The depression of the 1890s did not fully abate until 1897. One response to the series of failures and bankruptcies was an upsurge in business consolidations.