Causes of the Panic of 1819: Part 1

From where did the Panic of 1819 originate? Traditionally, the blame for the panic has been laid at the feet of the Second Bank of the United States and its President Langdon Cheves. In addition, many economists and historians point to the role the mismanaged state banks played in greatly expanding the nation’s money supply as another cause of the Panic.  According to this narrative, the Crash came about as a result of the overindebtedness and inflation caused by reckless lending of the state banks, which was then followed by incredibly harsh contraction of the money supply by the national bank. But while this statement is  basically correct, they ignore a crucial cause of the depression by focusing only upon the United States. The depression of 1819-1822 was not cause solely by the misadventures of the American banks but also by the complexities of the globalized economy.  More specifically, a sharp decline in the value of American export commodities, especially wheat, made the country as a whole much poorer, and exacerbated the monetary problems caused by the banks. In other words, the Panic was caused both by American banks and by economic events outside of the United States. To understand how these two factors helped to cause a major depression, we must first gain an understanding of the post War of 1812 era American Economy.

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Charles City County Flow Concentration Analyses

 This week was spent performing drainage analysis on 9 fields in Charles City County, Va. Using the 10m DEMs on the USGS’s Seamless server I was able to determine flow concentration values along the edge of each field. Charles City County is not one of the 11 counties covered by the newly available LIDAR. However, as mentioned in my previous posts, we are able to use this data with confidence after doing comparison analyses on several fields. The 9 fields will also be used in our test of GIS flow concentration areas with actual field observations. I was able to obtain information on the field ownership via the GIS parcel data on the county’s website and am working on contacting the owners for permission to visit the fields. During the visit my teammates and I will walk the parameter of the field and record the location of channels exiting the field with a GPS unit. Then back at the lab I can put these locations into ArcMap and determine their relation to high accumulation locations. This is a key step in our project. If there is a strong relationship between actual channels forming and high flow accumulation values in GIS then these steps can be used easily to find target points for buffer bypassing on a broad scale, without field visitation being necessary.

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