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The Panic of 1893

A couple of years ago Senator John Sherman passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act that punishes monopolies for manipulating the price of commodities and colluding with key resource providers. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act passed the same year forced the government to collude with key resource providers to manipulate the price of silver. Silver was $1.16 an ounce in 1890 which was considered too low. The Silver Act was supposed to boost silver prices to kick the economy into inflation. This would benefit farmers who are drowning in debt. Inflation allows the farmer to take out a loan to plant their crops and pay the loan back with inflated dollars when they sell their crops at inflated prices. (The farmers felt like they had been cheated by the bankers, so they were cheating them back.) The silver miners benefited by requiring the government to buy more silver. Sherman assured President Harrison that the Silver Act would never cause a problem, but Gresham's Law says that bad money pushes out the good. The price of silver has dropped more than 50% and it is still dropping! Investors are trading worth-less silver dollars for Treasury Notes backed by gold which has remained stable and more importantly... the price has remained real. The Carson City minting of Morgan silver dollars is shut down. There is a run on the banks, and credit dries up. The farmers are totally plowed under. They blame evil Jewish bankers, but actually, Senator Sherman is a Methodist. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This Panic was not directly the fault of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, but sudden turmoil in Buenos Aries caused European investors to pull their money out of South America. They turned to US Treasury Notes backed by gold. Then, when it became apparent that people were dumping silver for gold, gold disappeared from the market. The price of silver dropped like a rock and the US economy ground to a halt. President Grover Cleveland pushed for a repeal of the Silver Act. I find it ironic that the government can see the potential problem of private investors manipulating market prices, yet when the government does the same thing they are blind. Regardless of who is manipulating the market, it cannot be sustained for long. In the 1970s, the Hunt Brothers were accused of manipulating silver prices, pushing silver from 11 dollars an ounce to over 50 dollars. The price collapsed two months later. I'm not sure who was to blame, but a lot of rich people had their backsides hanging out in the wind that Thursday in 1980. There is a name for rich people who try to manipulate the market over the long run. They are called poor people... and poorer countries. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Dole Takes Hawaii. The Queen is Canned

It is the closing days of the Harrison Administration when news of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii reaches the United States. Sanford Dole is the first President of the provisional government. (He is a cousin, once removed, of the owner of the future Dole Pineapple Company.) President Harrison quickly negotiates a treaty to annex Hawaii, but it stalls in the Senate. The former Queen of Hawaii claims that she has been deposed illegally. In fact, she was deposed on January 17th. The treaty negotiators left on the 19th. They arrived in the USA on February 3rd and negotiations concluded on the 14th. Happy Valentines Day. The treaty stalled because the Senators were thinking the same thing you and I are thinking: the fix is in. An investigation ensues. It is found that U.S. Minster John Stevens landed U.S. Naval forces and threatened Honolulu. The Queen surrendered to superior forces. The majority of the provisional government was made up of American citizens. When the investigator from the Cleveland Administration showed up, the American Flag was flying over the capital building. Yeah. The fix was in. [9] [10]

If national honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial expansion or dissatisfaction with a form of government not our own ought to regulate our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and character of our government...
-- President Grover Cleveland, addressing Congress on the Hawaii Treaty. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Hawaii was annexed 5 years later. Apparently, President Cleveland completely misunderstood the character of the United States. It was not about freedom or principle. It was about the superior nature of the United States as a whole... with the exception of the Indians, a few Chinese, the Jews, Italians and the Irish. Did I leave anyone out? Oh yeah. Black people. What have we become? If you've been following the history segment, you have noticed a change in the character of the US citizen. We have become more brutal with others and less honest with ourselves. It is Darwinism and science replacing the God idea. You don't have to believe in God to understand the benefit of following His rules just as one does not have to believe in the Mayor of a city to realize that following the traffic laws works out well for everyone. With the imposition of our will over God's will, we have lost our limits. In some ways that is a good thing, but science is a new religion that is still finding its way. Today, secular authorities impose all sorts of limits on our conduct. In many ways the secular demands are more intrusive than the religious ones they are meant to replace. It would be a lot easier if we would correct ourselves. The God idea works. [12] [13]

Lizzie Bordon Took an Axe

The trail of Lizzie Bordon is a media frenzy. Everyone has an opinion but no one really knows. Did she really murder her parents with an axe? She looks so sweet. Certainly bad people must look bad and good people look good. Isn't that what science says? Well... there is a lot of pseudo science out there, but the evidence is unclear. The maid described the tension in the family preceding the murders of Mr. Andrew Bordon and his second wife, Abby. Lizzie and her sister, Emma believed that Abby was after their father's money. This was evident after their father transferred several pieces of property to Abby's relatives. Lizzie and Emma were are also granted properties which their father sold to them for a dollar and then bought them back for market prices. Lizzie's uncle came to visit, apparently to discuss a real estate deal. He stayed overnight and the next morning when Mrs. Abby Bordon went to straighten up his room, she was struck on the side of the head with an axe... 18 times. Mr. Andrew Bordon was next with 11. Lizzie says that she found his body laying on the couch, still bleeding out. Morphine was administered to calm her nerves and that may explain her changing testimony. Nevertheless, the police investigation provided no conclusive evidence that Lizzie Bordon did it. They could not even prove that they had the murder weapon in hand. After several weeks of testimony, the jury is back in an hour and a half. The verdict is "not guilty." The public is unconvinced and Lizzie Bordon will be ostracized for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, she will remain in the community until her death in 1927.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
-- Anonymous.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I saw a made-for-TV movie "The Legend of Lizzie Bordon" (1975) starring Elizabeth Montgomery. She is the actress best known for her starring role in the TV comedy show, "Bewitched". The movie was a big step away from comedy and quite shocking for the time. (She appeared naked, although the camera shots were strategically done so that Grandma wouldn't faint dead away.) She did well in the role. The movie attempted to explain away the lack of evidence. Apparently the murders required a lot of preparation and careful timing. Frankly, it seemed too complex, but the police never checked Lizzie for blood stains and they gave her a break when she started to cry. Again, it was probably the morphine, so I'm not sure how admissible her testimony would be today. We'll never really know, but she did stay in town despite all the controversy. [14] [15]

Notable Births

  • Omar Bradley (A 5-star General, he will lead US ground forces during World War 2. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle will be named after him.) [16] [17]
  • Hermann Göring (Second in command after Hitler, he will be convicted of crimes against humanity.) [18]
  • Mao Zedong (The leader of Communist China who will murder up to 70 million Chinese people.) [19] [20]

In Other News

  • By law, the tomato is now a vegetable. Biologically it is a fruit, but for the purposes of the US tariff law, it is a vegetable. [21]
  • The melody to the Happy Birthday song is composed. (Don't sing it Jack or YOU WILL PAY!) It will become the highest earning single song in history. [22] [23]
  • The rank of Chief Petty Officer is authorized for the U.S. Navy. The US Coast Guard comes later. Aside from the expected requirements of time in service, etc, a Chief can only become a Chief with the acceptance of other Chief Petty Officers. They choose their own. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1893, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Panic of 1893 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 January 2015.
  2. Sherman Silver Purchase Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “In 1890, the price of silver dipped to $1.16 per ounce. By the end of the year, it had fallen to $0.69. By December 1894, the price had dropped to $0.60. On November 1, 1895, US mints halted production of silver coins, and the government closed the Carson City Mint. Banks discouraged the use of silver dollars. In fact, the years 1893-95 had the lowest productions of Morgan dollars for the entire series, creating several scarce and one rare coin.”
  3. Nelson Bunker Hunt - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “He was a former billionaire whose fortune collapsed after he and his brothers William Herbert and Lamar Hunt[1] tried but failed to corner the world market in silver.”
  4. Buenos Aires - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “During most of the 19th century, the political status of the city remained a sensitive subject.”
  5. Who pushed through the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act?. Answers.com (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “It was Grover Cleveland who supported and pushed through the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Cleveland was the 24th U.S. President.”
  6. 1893-CC Morgan Silver Dollar. Coinfacts.com (2015). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “Mintage: Circulation strikes: 677,000 Proofs: estimated 12 Designer: George T. Morgan Diameter: 38.1 millimeters Metal Content: Silver - 90% Copper - 10% Weight: 26.73 grams Edge: Reeded Mintmark: 'CC' (for Carson City) below the center of the wreath on the reverse”
  7. Nelson Bunker Hunt, R.I.P.: The Myth of the Hunt Brothers' 'Scheme to Corner the Silver Market'. thenewamerican.com (23 October 2014). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “'Bunker Hunt,' Gary Allen noted, 'was not a speculator in silver. Speculators are short-term players. They do not buy their holdings to keep, as Hunt was doing and continues to do. People gamble on the future price of pork bellies to make money in a relatively short period — not as a long-term investment. With gold and silver, on the other hand, there are many who — like the Hunts — see the metals as cash and prefer them to paper money. They are investors for the long term.'”
  8. Atkinson, Edward (December 1894 - March 1895). "Computation of the Value of the Wealth in Existence: Remarks of Mr. Edward Atkinson". Publications of the American Statistical Association 4 (28-29): 81-83. 
  9. Gray, George (April 1895). "Two Years of American Diplomacy". The North American Review (University of Northern Iowa) 160 (461): 412-424. http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/25103502. 
  10. "President's Message, The". The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920) (World Affairs Institute) 56 (1): 12-14. January 1894. http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/20665058. 
  11. Grover Cleveland - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “'I suppose that right and justice should determine the path to be followed in treating this subject. If national honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial expansion or dissatisfaction with a form of government not our own ought to regulate our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and character of our government and the behavior which the conscience of the people demands of their public servants.'”
  12. Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii began with the coup d'état of January 17, 1893 on the island of Oahu, leading to the end of the hereditary monarchs, largely at the hands of United States citizens within the kingdom government under Queen Lili'uokalani and backed by an invasion of U.S. Marines under John L. Stevens. Hawaii was initially reconstituted as an independent republic, but the ultimate goal of the revolutionaries was the annexation of the islands to the United States, which was finally accomplished in 1898.”
  13. Luke 23:34 - Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them...'. biblegateway.com (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
  14. The Legend of Lizzie Borden (TV Movie 1975). imdb.com (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “A dramatization of the famous 1893 Massachusetts trial of the woman accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an ax.”
  15. The Legend of Lizzie Borden (TV Movie 1975) - YouTube. youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “Elizabeth Montgomery stars as Lizzie Borden, a 19th-century Massachusetts woman, who is put on trial for the brutal slaughter of her father and step-mother in the family mansion. She is accused of hacking up her parents with an ax after carefully removing her clothes to avoid bloodstains. Based on fact and considered shocking at the time for a TV-movie.”
  16. Omar Bradley - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “From the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944 through to the end of the war in Europe, Bradley had command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west; he ultimately commanded forty-three divisions and 1.3 million men, the largest body of American soldiers ever to serve under a single U.S. field commander. After the war, Bradley headed the Veterans Administration and became Army Chief of Staff. In 1949, Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the following year oversaw the policy-making for the Korean War, before retiring from active service in 1953.”
  17. Bradley Fighting Vehicle - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “The Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense. It was named after U.S. General Omar Bradley.”
  18. Hermann Göring - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “After World War II, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.”
  19. Getting My Reestimate Of Mao's Democide Out. Democratic Peace Blog (November 30, 2005). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “However, some other scholars and researchers had put the PRC total as from 60,000,000 to a high 70,000,000. Asked why my total is so low by comparison, I've responded that I did not include the China’s Great Famine 1958-1961.”
  20. Mao Zedong - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “In contrast, critics consider him a dictator comparable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin who severely damaged traditional Chinese culture, as well as a perpetrator of systematic human rights abuses who was responsible for an estimated 40 to 70 million deaths through starvation, forced labour and executions, ranking his tenure as the top incidence of democide in human history.”
  21. Tariff of 1883 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “The law exempts fruit but not vegetables, causing tomato importers to file sue claiming that tomatoes are a fruit, resulting in the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Nix v. Hedden (May 10, 1893) that tomatoes are to be considered a vegetable for purposes of this tariff.”
  22. Happy Birthday to You - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “By one estimate, the song is the highest-earning single song in history, with estimated earnings since its creation of US$50 million.”
  23. Happy Birthday to You - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “The melody of 'Happy Birthday to You' comes from the song 'Good Morning to All', which has traditionally been attributed to American sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill in 1893, although the claim that the sisters composed the tune is disputed.”
  24. Chief petty officer - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 November 2016. “Unlike petty officer first class and lower rates, advancement to chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and specialty examinations, but also carries an added requirement of peer review. A chief petty officer can only advance after review by a selection board of serving master chief petty officers, in effect 'choosing their own' and conversely not choosing others.”

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