The Panic of 1857

Looter historians explain away financial panics, crashes, collapses and depressions the way their government sponsors expect them to. After all, who who pays the piper, calls the tune. Governments also pay for the public notices sections in the newspapers, and it pays a pauper paper to please petty politicians.

You’d expect these subsidized sources to report that something other than government caused the crash, panic, collapse, recession, depression… and you’d be right. With consistent circularity the culprit named by the receivers of grants, ad revenue or veiled threats is always too much speculation. How do they know too much from just enough? By the crashes and panics–DUH!

Ohio Politician John Sherman (as in opium trade dollar, antitrust, Silver Purchase Act, brother of “March Across Georgia” Sherman) “explained” that reckless speculation and the unhealthy, excessive, development of cities and towns were to blame. But weren’t those the same adjectives used to dismiss America’s First Great Depression?

Alasdair Roberts writes smoothly but leaves contextual dots unconnected. As in 1903, 1907 and 1929, America’s First Great Depression arrived on the heels of armed confrontation over plant-derived substances. China’s prohibition of opium drained the country of silver, after it suddenly increased enforcement beginning with the 1837 expulsion of British and American opium traders from Canton. The panic resulted when British investors dumped American municipal bonds to raise capital for the long-awaited war on China.

Much of the action in the Second Opium War took place when Townsend Harris was U.S. Minister to Japan. As he negotiated, British, French and (yes, blood is thicker than water)** “neutral” American ships carrying the White Man’s Burden bombarded Chinese port cities with solid shot. Nary a word of this appeared in any government school history book for boys nearing the age of conscription in 1967.

British historians bemoan the Black Hole of Calcutta, wail and gnash over the outrageous mutinies in India and Afghanistan with never a word included about the concurrent bombardment of India’s friendly neighbor to the northeast. They instead spew harmoniously rehearsed lies about the uncovered superstitious wretches’ fear of hog fat and suet rumored to make muzzle-loading rifles unclean–to please Jesus and irritate Shiva and Mohammed.

If you are tired of government schoolmarm assurances that Prohibition and The Crash coexisted by unrelated coincidence and that the LP is a waste of votes, why not try a mug of Prohibition and The Crash–Cause and Effect in 1929? It’s live on Amazon Kindle for the price of an unsubsidized pint.

Live on Amazon Kindle in 2 languages

** The expression was coined as American naval personnel broke neutrality to assist the British attack on China’s Pieho Forts May 28, 1858. Search and you will find fake attributions recasting it as antichoice, eugenics, nationalsocialist and republican homilies diverting attention away from the meaning of the expression.

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