George Selgin is renowned for his work in monetary theory and history, so when he speaks, he deserves to be listened to: Recession, Fed Policy, and Locusts. (I thank one of my blog visitors for drawing my attention to this article).
I have only a quibble to offer. Selgin remarks that the unemployment rate in the 1870s depression never exceeded 8%. My hunch is that a given rate of unemployment 100 years ago would have imposed much more economic hardship than an identical rate today. (In particular, people are wealthier today, making unemployment more affordable). Also, I am wondering whether the numbers are strictly comparable? I presume that conventions of today's Labor Force Survey were not in place back then. Does anybody out there know?