Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Panic of 1873.


By 1883 the mining industry in Colorado had been developing for more than 20 years, yet the railroad had yet to come to the Boulder mountain area. The need for a more efficient and effective transportation system had long been evident. Wagon transport across rocky terrain was slow, expensive, wrought with danger, and was a clear limiting factor in full exploitation of the resources buried in the mountain treasure chest.

The transcontinental railroad had been completed in 1865, the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Point in Utah signaling not just the connection of the coasts but the maturation of a technology. In the east and on the west coast, railroad growth experienced rapid, often explosive growth. The population base in the mountain west was insufficient to merit the massive capital investments required, but would soon begin growing.

By the late 1860s and early 1870s railroads began appearing in the Rocky Mountains, where industrialization had already been developing.  The Denver Pacific Railroad laid its first track in 1869, and in 1872 the Colorado Central Railroad extended its line up Clear Creek Canyon to Blackhawk, at the southern end of the mineral field west of Boulder. Conditions were ripe for a rail line to the north.

Between 1848 and 1873 the economy of the European continent had experienced an expansion without historic precedent. One example, to illustrate: total rail lines in 1850 came to 14,500 miles. By 1870 that figure was 63,300 miles.




etween 1848 and 1873, the European economy experienced an economic boom without historic precedent. - See more at: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/a-marxist-history-of-the-world/15498-a-marxist-history-of-the-world-part-61-the-long-depression-1873-1896#sthash.cr7Lylqk.dpuf
etween 1848 and 1873, the European economy experienced an economic boom without historic precedent. - See more at: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/a-marxist-history-of-the-world/15498-a-marxist-history-of-the-world-part-61-the-long-depression-1873-1896#sthash.cr7Lylqk.dpufBetween 1848 and 1873 the European economy had experienced an expansion without historic precedent. One detail to illustrate: in 1850 there were 14,500 miles of rail in Europe. By 1970 there were 63,300.
Then came the crash.

In May 1873 the Vienna Stock Market collapsed. Cascading through the continent, one national economy after another failed. The agriculture industry in England was decimated. By September 1873 the catastrophe arrived at American shores, with the decimation of the empire of Jay Cooke and Company, with large holdings in lumber and in railroads. Panic was in the air as investors in every sector of the economy rushed to preserve their own assets.


So began what has become known as the Long Depression, described today as shallow but lasting a generation. With the destruction of capital nationwide, the immense investments required for development of railroad lines in Colorado came to a halt.

It was not until 1883 that the Union Pacific had mustered enough capital and enough courage to venture into the risk of developing a narrow gauge rail that would eventually extend into the gold and silver fields west of Boulder City, Colorado.
Europe had just 14,500 miles of railway in 1850, but 63,300 miles of it by 1870. - See more at: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/a-marxist-history-of-the-world/15498-a-marxist-history-of-the-world-part-61-the-long-depression-1873-1896#sthash.cr7Lylqk.dpuf
Europe had just 14,500 miles of railway in 1850, but 63,300 miles of it by 1870. - See more at: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/a-marxist-history-of-the-world/15498-a-marxist-history-of-the-world-part-61-the-long-depression-1873-1896#sthash.cr7Lylqk.dpuf
etween 1848 and 1873, the European economy experienced an economic boom without historic precedent. - See more at: http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/a-marxist-history-of-the-world/15498-a-marxist-history-of-the-world-part-61-the-long-depression-1873-1896#sthash.cr7Lylqk.dpuf

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