THE PANIC OF 1907 AND AFTER
IT is not to be assumed that the concentration of banking power and the control of corporate activities had no unfortunate accompaniments. Unquestionably the consolidation of the great railroad systems of the country, under the "community of interest" plan, resulted in greatly stabilizing freight rates; it increased efficiency of operation; it enabled the managements to develop large amounts of new business and to show greatly increased profits; and it bred a spirit of invincible optimism in Wall Street. The large crops of these years, the unusually heavy tide of foreign immigration, and the boom in business generally, all helped to increase this feeling of optimism in Wall Street. Great material progress and prosperity, however, inevitably invite speculation; and speculation, once begun, grows by what it feeds on.
In the closing months of 1904 a great speculative