Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Depressions affect people and institutions in a variety of ways, from leveling the wealth until a recovery is impossible to showing the weaknesses inherent in the system, thus enabling workable solutions to be a result. The economic emergency of 1837 was such a phenomenon. Much has been written about its effects on a national and state level, but localities have been slighted. All do not necessarily react the same, and consequently the aim of this paper is to show Richmond’s particular response to her poor market conditions, and the political developments of the havoc that occurred from 1837-1842.

The bulk of my research was done at the State Library of Virginia in the newspapers, House Journals and Documents, and pertinent secondary sources on the subject. Before one can deal in the smaller sections one must have a conception of how the depression was experienced by the country as a whole, then the localities can be seen in a better perspective. In dealing with Richmond, I have endeavored to keep this in mind.

In order not to confuse the reader I have taken the liberty to refer to the Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser as the Whig in the body of my paper and in the footnotes and bibliography. The paper changed name in 1839 to the Richmond Whig, back to the Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser in 1840, to the Richmond Daily Whig in 1841, and in 1842 assumed its original name.