The famous Wall Street Prophet of the ﬁrst half of the twentieth century W. D. Gann often said that major cycles were found in 100 and 500 year time periods. Following Gann’s lead, research was initiated to determine the feasibility of this concept and to attempt a peek into what the 1990’s may have in store. The following information is documented historical data based on that research.
The best place to start would be the most obvious, the Civil War of the 1860’s, in which many Americans lost their lives as well as our nation being torn apart. In the 1960’s we period of great civil strife and were involved in a very unpopular war which cost many American lives. In 1896, there was a great deal of city conﬂict which had its origins in religious and nationalistic premises. There was a great challenge to “The control of urban institutions by these nationalists”. This is very much akin to the movement of the Afro-American today. There was a great move to reform, especially in politics and particularly in the area of corruption and mismanagement.
Moreover, in the 1880’s and 90’s there was a concentration of Wall Street manipulators and plungers which over capitalized railroads and dissembled them by selling off their various assets. These individuals were known as Captains of Industry. There were two depressions to speak of during that time. The ﬁrst lasted from 1873 to 1879, which is very renascent of our recession of the 1970’s era. The second was 1893 to 1896. During this period prices were reduced but there were higher wages. From the period 1878 to 1896, wholesale prices declined by as much as 25%. This was due to a drop in gold production stemming from a lack of interest in same and the contraction of government expenditures. It’s ironic that these latter two are exactly what has been shaping up over the past several years. (Gramm-Rudman Act) Another factor which caused a sharp drop in costs stemmed from new technology and superior management. Again, events indicative of modern times.
In addition, during that time, there were huge bank failures as well as numerous small business bankruptcies – not unlike the events of the 1980’s. There was also heavy unemployment (1970’s), wage cutting (1980’s) and labor unrest (1990’s?). There were great transportation strikes in 1893 to 1894. During this period of time, businesses absorbed competition; buyouts and mergers were commonplace. In 1879, the gold standard was reinstated. As you may well remember in 1979 gold soared to record heights. In 1873, silver money was terminated as the commercial value was greater than the denominational value. If you remember in 1964, silver coining was also stopped and in 1979 people were melting coins for their silver value.
During this period of time social patterns exhibited inequities and deranged values as well as the abandonment of old fashioned values. The population was driven towards a heightened hunt for wealth. There was a substantial rise of obscure people who were vulgar and ostentatious in their lifestyles – “Dallas” anyone? Still, many people lived in poverty – our homeless of today. At that time Americans built houses with mansard roofs, and castle like dwellings (Tudor types) were popular just as today. Further, there was much new housing developed at that time. There were outbreaks of contagious and infectious diseases to a large degree. (Aids)
People listened to papers on poets, especially those of Greece and Ancient Rome. There was great innovation in ﬁnance, (todays unstable and shared mortgages, Junk Bonds, etc.) and transportation and there were great philosophical accomplishments. It was indeed an era of change.
At the turn of the century, there was a move towards “Progressivism”. This was the traditional promise of American life something indicative of the Ronald Reagan era. People feared repression by corporations in their rise in status and prestige. They sort to restore equality of opportunity and social justice. There was an expose of the Standard Oil Co. the Alaskan oil spill?
Concerning foreign affairs, at that time there was a great conﬂict with Panama. There were interventions into Haiti-, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This paralleled our limited intervention over the past several years, into Haiti, Granada and Nicaragua. It was also curious that the American president backed insurrectionists in Nicaragua and Panama due to leadership refusal to abide by American wishes. In 1895, there was also a war in Cuba brought about by foreign intervention (Russia and the missile crisis). In 1899, the United States employed an Open Door policy with foreign nations. During this time China’s power declined leading to area instability. Japan made great growth into the modern era; not unlike Japan’s industrial action and commerce of the 1970’s and 80’s.
The most interesting factors that may give us a clue to the 1990’s developed in 1890 and in 1791, in the area of the American economy. In 1791, the ﬁrst United States bank was established by Thomas Jefferson. With this bold stroke government credit was revived. . In 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was established. At this time the government purchased silver mines and silver supplies. There were treasury certiﬁcates issued against the silver. Gold and silver achieved equal parity although the ratio was 20 to 1. This helped in bringing about economic credibility to the government at that time. However, in 1893, the Silver Act was abolished and the depression of 1893 to 1896 ensued. In fact, silver was the basis of the 1896 democratic convention. William Jennings Bryan, the democratic presidential candidate and his famous Cross of Silver speech made history. The basis was return backing. –Maybe? Consider that even if gold doubled in value, it still would not eliminate our national debt. But, if gold went to $1,000 per oz and silver went to 15 – 1 ratio, it (silver) would still only be at $66 per oz.
The good news of the times was that there was great innovations and many new discoveries. In 1897, business improved, prices rose, more gold was discovered and there was substantially better bank credit. By 1900 the Currency Act was legislated and there was a return to the gold standard.
Unfortunately, we in America being such a young country have child says “What is the sense in studying history”?, Perhaps you can show them this article or a similar one to it.