Economics

1940s

Overview The 1940s witnessed the worst military conflict in world history.  Out of more than 70 million combatants from 70 different countries, the editors at Digital History estimate about 17 million dead, including about 400,000 American military personnel out of…

1930s

Overview When Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office as president on March 4, 1933, the nation’s economic crisis had become the most severe in its history.  Not only was unemployment rising and poverty widespread, but the banking system appeared…

1920s

No matter how you try to capture the spirit of the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, nothing looms larger in a discussion of that fast-paced decade than the Great Crash of 1929.  The collapse of Wall Street stock prices on…

1900s

Overview Near the beginning of his memoir Growing Up (1982), journalist Russell Baker describes the United States of his mother’s childhood, in the first decade of the twentieth century, as a “young country,” one that seemed to his grandfather at least, as the “greatest country…

1890s

Overview The nineteenth century had always been an age of certainties, but by the 1890s, some of the post-Civil War consensus about American civilization and progress was beginning to fragment as it had never quite done before.  Populists challenged the distribution…

1870s

Overview The term “Reconstruction” has more than one meaning in American history.  Usually it refers to the period from 1863 to 1877, as the federal government worked to “reconstruct” or “restore” former Confederate states back in the national system of…

ESSAY –Election Day 1896

Peter Wright offers a vivid portrait of William Jennings Bryan on the day of his defeat in 1896.  Bryan was the Democratic – Populist candidate for president who was overwhelmed by former Ohio governor William McKinley and the well-financed, well-organized…