You may have heard of the money or greenbacks created during the Civil War by the U.S. government, which were backed only by credit.
After the Civil War ended, it was thought that the U.S. Government would buy back the greenbacks with gold.
In 1869, James Fisk and Jay Gould headed a group of speculators who sought to profit by cornering the gold market. They recruited financier Abel Corbin to influence President Grant as Corbin was brother-in-law to the President.
Abel Corbin convinced President Grant to appoint Gen. Daniel Butterfield as Assistant Treasurer of the U.S. Butterfield was to tip the “speculators” off when the government intended to sell gold.
Late summer 1869, Gould began buying large amounts of gold causing prices to rise and stocks to plummet. President Grant realized what was happening and had the federal government sell four million dollars in gold.
Within minutes after the government gold hit the market, the premium plummeted. Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and many of them, including Corbin, were ruined.
As is the case sometimes, the scoundrels Fisk and Gould, escaped significant financial harm.—from www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(1869)
The Black Friday Panic of 1869, was one of four contributing factors to the Panic of 1873 which caused my great-grandfather to lose his job as a carman or truck man in New York City by 1877.