060 Murray N. Rothbard's The Panic of 1819 [1962] with Patrick Newman (History of History 13)

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The panic of 1819 was America's first great economic crisis. And this is Murray Rothbard's masterful account, the first full scholarly book on the topic and still the most definitive. It was his dissertation, published in 1962 but nearly impossible to get until this new edition. The American Economic Review was wild for this book when it appeared: "Rothbard's work represents the only published, book-length, academic treatise on the remedies that were proposed, debated, and enacted in attempts to cope with the crisis of 1819," the reviewer wrote. "As such, the book should certainly find a place on the shelf of the study of U.S. business cycles and of the economic historian who is interested in the early economic development of the United States." And specialists have treasured the book for years. It is incredible to realize that some American historians think of M.N. Rothbard as the author of this book and nothing else! The panic of 1819 grew largely out of the changes wrought by the War of 1812, and by the postwar boom that followed. The war also brought a rash of paper money, as the government borrowed heavily to finance the conflict. This would inevitably lead to suspension of specie payments in some parts of the country in 1814. Freed from the shackles of hard money, the suspension of specie led to a boom. When peace came, the so did the bust. But in the end, there was no widespread confusion on what caused the downturn. Instead, it was widely known that false prosperity is a very dangerous thing. It always turns to bust. But unlike today, the government didn't intervene. And precisely because there was no intervention, the panic ended quickly and peacefully. Dr. Patrick Newman, a Fellow of the Mises Institute, is an ​assistant professor of economics at Florida Southern College and a Fellow of its Center for Free Enterprise. He completed his PhD in economics at George Mason University. His primary research interests include Austrian economics, monetary theory, and late 19th- and early 20th-century American economic history. He is the editor of Murray Rothbard's The Progressive Era (Mises Institute, 2017).

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