Ron Mattocks: Occupy Wall Street & Reaction to The Gilded Age

Roundup: Media's Take

Ron Mattocks is a social media strategist.

Saint Bradley-Martin -- In February of 1897, rich New York socialites, Bradley and Cornilia Martin, hosted an over-the-top costume ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. What's the significance behind this? For starters, the United States had been suffering through a major economic depression that had begun in 1873 and included two bank panics (1873 and 1893). Contrasted against the country's current condition, the Bradley-Martin Ball was more than just ill-timed; it was a slap in the face to the American populace which had been bearing the brunt of the hardships produced by what was later referred to as The Long Depression for over two decades.

It's interesting to note that the Long Depression wasn't just endemic to the United States, but was in fact, a major global economic crisis plaguing all of Europe and Russia as well. (It's likely that the rest of the globe was affected, but financial record keeping in these regions was sketchy to non-existent.)

How did that whole mess get started? Funny you should ask. I'll skip the finer details, but basically it boiled down to inflationary investing in Germany following the Franco-Prussian War while here in the United States, the cause stemmed from over-building by the railroad companies as well as rampant corporate and congressional fraud, best personified by the the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal in 1872 (congressmen were taking bribes from the Crédit Mobilier of America Construction company.)

Starting to sound familiar? Oh, but wait, it gets better!...

comments powered by Disqus