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Jacksonian Monetary Policy, Specie Flows, and the Panic of 1837

Peter L. Rousseau
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 457-488
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2698187
Page Count: 32
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Jacksonian Monetary Policy, Specie Flows, and the Panic of 1837
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Abstract

A number of hypotheses attempt to disentangle the "true" causes of the Panic of 1837 from domestic and international factors that came into play as the crisis approached. I analyze U.S. government documents and contemporary newspapers to reconsider the role of domestic factors. These sources place neither the official distribution of the federal surplus nor an international shock at the center. Rather, a series of interbank transfers of government balances and a policy-induced increase in the demand for coin in the Western states drained the largest New York City banks of their specie reserves and rendered the panic inevitable.

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