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Bubble Psychology in 1837

January 10, 2007

Tags Booms and Busts

The spirit of speculation and adventure pervaded the entire community ... and crowds of individuals of every description—the credulous and the suspicious—the crafty and the bold—the raw and the inexperienced—the intelligent and the ignorant—politicians, lawyers, physicians, and divines, hastened to venture some portion of their property in schemes of which scarcely any thing was known except the name.

That description of U.S. business culture just prior to the Panic of 1837 is from Scott A. Sandage's Born Losers: A History of Failure in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 90).

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