"Never Did I See So Universal a Frenzy": The Panic of 1791 and the Republicanization of Philadelphia
Originally published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
In the late summer and early fall of 1791, the United States experienced its first financial panic. With public confidence in the constitutional regime already low, the Hamilton Treasury faced a collapse in the prices of Bank of the United States script and US securities. Despite the Treasury's novel and paradigm-setting bailout of financial markets, the panic resulted in profound political and cultural shifts in Philadelphia. The shock of financial crisis played a pivotal role in converting Philadelphia from a Federalist stronghold into the epicenter of early American Jeffersonian Republicanism.