On 5 May 1893, Wall Street stock prices took a sudden drop. By the end of the year, 600 banks had closed. The Philadelphia and Reading,the Erie, the Northern Pacific, the Union Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads had gone into receivership; 15,000 other businesses went into bankruptcy. Other than the Great Depression of the 1930s, this was the worst economic crisis in US history; 15 20 percent of the workforce was unemployed.
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