Historically, economies have repeatedly undergone periods of expansions or booms, followed by periods of decline, recession, or depression. As stated by Christina Romer, economics professor at the University of California-Berkeley and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, “The combination of expansions and recessions, the ebb and flow of economic activity, is called the business cycle.”[i]
This easy-to-read timeline provides a historical perspective of over 150 years (1775-1943) of U.S. economic growth and depressions, including information on federal debt, national income, business activity, commodity prices, stock prices, and bond yields.
Burns, Arthur F. and Mitchell, Wesley C. Measuring Business Cycles. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1946; http://papers.nber.org/books/burn46-1.
Fisher, Irving. Booms and Depressions: Some First Principles. New York: Adelphi, 1932; https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/scribd/?title_id=104&filepath=/docs/publications/books/booms_fisher.pdf.
Mitchell, Wesley C. Business Cycles. Memoirs of the University of California. Volume 3. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1913; https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/scribd/?title_id=174&filepath=/docs/publications/books/mitch_buscyc/mitchell_buscyc.pdf.
Many more readings are available in FRASER’s business cycles subject.
[i] Romer, Christina D. “Business Cycles,” in David R. Henderson, ed., The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. 2008. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/BusinessCycles.html.