Panic of 1819

A combination of bad banking practices; too much land speculation and competition from Europe caused the United States to enter its first economic depression.


From 1815 to 1818, the price of cotton on the world's markets continued to rise. This resulted in increased speculation, especially in land. In 1819, when there was a sudden drop in the price of cotton, land prices plummeted almost 50% overnight. With the American economy more interconnected than ever before, the result was the first national depression.

The depression highlighted the plight of the poor and the debtors. As a result, many states eliminated the imprisonment of debtors.