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The Depression of 1893, also known as the Panic of 1893, was the worst economic downturn to hit the United States before the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Thousands of American companies went out of business and dozens of railroad companies failed as well.  Unemployment reached levels as high as 18% (roughly twice what they are today) and there was a great deal of political unrest.  The most famous example of this unrest was the march on Washington undertaken by "Coxey's Army."

The depression is typically blamed on overbuilding, especially of railroads.  This overbuilding led to a crash when the "bubble" burst.  The crash caused businesses to fail as demand for their products declined.