PROSPERITY: FACT OR MYTH CHAPTER I

THE FIFTH WAVE

In the year 1906, the Secretary of the Treasury was publicly praying that the country be delivered from more prosperity. That his prayers were in order was evidenced by the glorious crash in the following year--the profound business depression of 1907.

The present era, 1922 to 1929, marks the fifth great period of business prosperity in the history of the Republic. The first began just over a century ago, in 1825, following the recovery from the Napoleonic wars, and the revival of world trade. A tide of settlers from the East rolled over the Appalachians to the fat lands of the Middle West. The first steam engines began to wheeze their way over cast iron rails. For 12 ebullient years the curve went swinging upward, and ended with a dizzy nose dive in the panic of 1837.

Unshaven men, swirling sand around in tin pans, started the next upheaval. California gold, another great western migration, new types of horse-driven plows and harvesters, thousands of miles of new railroad lines, made the second

-19-

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