President Andrew Jackson’s Hard Money and No Debt policies are most often blamed for the deep depression that ravaged the young United States in the 1830s but it must be noted that the last president of the 2nd Bank of the United States, Nicholas Biddle’s determined opposition to Jackson’s divestment efforts seriously compounded the crash. In countering Jackson, Biddle called in other bank debts and raised interest rates. This was, in itself, enough to trigger an immediate collapse and panic and it is accepted now that this was precisely what Biddle intended. It was this panic of 1833-1834 that accounted for the bulk of failing businesses and foreclosures. In some instances the unemployment rate in towns far exceeded the rate of those employed. It took a full 9 years for the nation to crawl out of this steep recession and then only into the economic malaise of the 1840s – a period which we also refer to as a recession. Hard Times Tokens were both efforts to bridge the coinage gap brought on by Jackson’s Hard Money (Silver and Gold) policies which deeply neglected the needs of the economy for smaller denomination coinage and as business calling cards and political propaganda. Daniel Webster, Joseph Biddle’s good friend and a leading Whig gamely minted political attacks against populist Jackson.
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