Happy Holidays! Economic Downturns in the 1800’s Fueled Western Expansion and Ignited Hopes for a Better New Year!
A series of depressions–they called them “Panics” in the 1800’s–shook the American economy to its roots. The Panic of 1837 lasted over six years and convinced many people that the trails to the West offered their only hope of salvation. The Panic was triggered by the failure of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company–really it was a bank–which had been speculating in railroads and lost a ton of money, triggering a run on the banks. Sound Familiar?
In New York City alone, over 900 businesses failed. Many people lost everything. Future president Ulysses Grant had to pawn his gold watch to buy Christmas presents.
People who went west saw mining, ranching, and homesteading as hope for the future. They celebrated the holidays with little money and considerable enthusiasm.
I’ll share the history of Christmas, western American style, and a couple of short stories about celebrating the holidays out West, and not so long ago!
For more information on bringing hope and optimism into your life, both in the holidays and throughout the year, take a look at The Magical Dozen. How to Control Your Destiny and Create the Life You Want–In Good Times and Bad. Also see my great Christmas, two-books-for-the-price-of-one special when you pick up a copy of Romantic Christmas Stories of the Old West.