(p.v) The Americans make immense progress in productive industry, because they all devote themselves to it at once; and for this same reason they are exposed to very unexpected and formidable embarrassments. … Their commercial affairs are affected by such various and complex causes that it is impossible to foresee what difficulties may arise. … At the least shock given to business all private fortunes are put in jeopardy at the same time, and the State is shaken.
The return of these commercial panics is an endemic disease of the democratic nations of our age.
—Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835