John M. Murrin, et al., eds., Liberty Equality Power: A History of the American People, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999), 488.
A financial panic in the fall of 1857 brought on what turned out to be a short-lived but intense depression. Causes of the panic stemmed partly from the international economy and partly from domestic overexpansion…This speculative house of cards came crashing down in September 1857. The failure of one banking house sent a wave of panic through the financial community. Banks suspended specie payments, businesses failed, railroads went bankrupt, construction halted, factories shut down. Hundreds of thousands of workers were laid off, and others went on part-time schedules or took wage cutes, just as the cold winter months were arriving.