The Yankee West: Community Life on the Michigan Frontier

By Susan E. Gray | Go to book overview

This Walking before Creeping Will Never Answer 2

THE NECESSARY MARKET

Boom Times

On July 9, 1836, the office of the Kalamazoo Land District at Bronson closed its doors, turning away an ever-changing, never-diminishing crowd of applicants. For months, this crowd had lined up nightly for the few beds available in village inns or settlers' homes, crawled into tents, or curled up on piles of straw in barns. They had arisen each morning before dawn to await the opening of the land office. Now they were forced to break their vigil. Inside the land office, the June days passed in a state of siege as the registrar, Abraham Edwards, the receiver, Thomas C. Sheldon, and a small staff of clerks prepared to enforce the specie circular, scheduled to take effect on September 1, and attempted to catch up on a backlog of some 1,500 applications. 1

The specie circular was the Jackson administration's attempt to brake a runaway national inflation it had itself helped to fuel. After vetoing the recharter of the Second Bank of the United States in 1832, Jackson determined to destroy the bank before its charter expired in 1836 by removing its federal deposits and placing them in so-called pet banks. The decision encouraged the chartering of new banks throughout the nation that, unim-

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