THE "TIDAL WAVE" OF 1874
THE grave conditions in financial and industrial affairs after the panic of September, 1873, naturally gave full occupation to popular thought during the succeeding winter, and the unhappy political and social situation in the South was relegated to the background. When the forty-third Congress met in December, it was greeted with an annual message from the president in which southern affairs received no mention save a half-dozen perfunctory lines at the end. Executive and legislature alike devoted themselves to problems of finance and currency, which had suddenly become urgent. From all parts of the country appeals were heard for some governmental action to relieve the distress of business interests. The political leaders at Washington were badly divided in their views as to what ought to be done, and the division was less on party than on sectional lines--the agricultural West against the industrial East.
Out of a wide range of conflicting projects, issue was most definitely joined on the proposition to increase the amount of greenbacks in circulation.