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In the bad old days, the market was a combination of the wild west and a P.T. Barnum inspired circus. Scams, deceits and overall anarchy ruled the day. To win in the market, a person had to either be lucky or criminal. Most honest folk, preferring the safety of interest-bearing bonds, turned askance when approached by a carpetbag-carrying salesman touting the latest elixir alongside the “next, greatest, railroad stock this side of the Union Pacific.” All this Tom-Foolery ended with a resounding crash on a Black Friday one ghoulish October.

Not only did the market crash of 1929 signal the end of the Roaring Twenties, but is also ushered in the most economically dreary decade America has ever seen. Try as he might, all of FDR’s horses and all of FDR’s men couldn’t put the economy together again. Yet, two actions taken early in his term set the stage for the vigorous return of capital markets – and the economy – following the close of World War II.

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