Black Friday (1869)
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Black Friday, September 24, 1869, also known as the Fisk/Gould scandal, was a financial panic in the United States caused by two speculators’ efforts to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange. It was one of several scandals that rocked the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. During the American Civil War, the United States government issued a large amount of money that was backed by nothing but credit. After the war ended, people commonly believed that the U.S. Government would buy back the “greenbacks” with gold. In 1869, a group of speculators, headed by James Fisk and Jay Gould, sought to profit off this by cornering the gold market. Gould and Fisk first recruited Grant’s brother-in-law, a financier named Abel Corbin. They used Corbin to get close to Grant in social situations, where they would argue against government sale of gold, and Corbin would support their arguments. Corbin convinced Grant to appoint General Daniel Butterfield as assistant Treasurer of the United States. Butterfield agreed to tip the men off when the government intended to sell gold.
In the late summer of 1869, Gould began buying large amounts of gold. This caused prices to rise and stocks to plummet. After Grant realized what had happened, the federal government sold $4 million in gold. On September 20, 1869, Gould and Fisk started hoarding gold, driving the price higher. On September 24 the premium on a gold Double Eagle (representing 0.9675 troy ounce of gold bullion at $20) was 30 percent higher than when Grant took office. But when the government gold hit the market, the premium plummeted within minutes. Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and many of them, including Corbin, were ruined. Fisk and Gould escaped significant financial harm.
Subsequent Congressional investigation into the scandal was limited because Virginia Corbin and First Lady Julia Grant were not permitted to testify. However, Butterfield resigned from the U.S. Treasury. Henry Adams, who believed that President Ulysses S. Grant had tolerated, encouraged, and perhaps even participated in corruption and swindles, attacked Grant in an 1870 article entitled The New York Gold Conspiracy.
Although Grant was not directly involved in the scandal his personal association with Gould and Fisk gave clout to their Wall Street financial gold market swindle. Also, Grant had ordered the Secretary of Treasury to release gold in order to stop the gold market manipulation. Grant had personally declined to listen to Gould's ambitious plan to corner the gold market, since the scheme was not announced publicly.
- E. Benjamin Andrews. History of the United States from the Earliest Discovery of America to the Present Day, Volume IV (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1895), courtesy of Clipart ETC
- Ackerman, Kenneth D. (1988). The Gold Ring: Jim Fisk, Gould, and Black Friday, 1869. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. ISBN 0396090656.
- ^ Jean Edward Smith, Grant, pgs 481-490, Simon & Shuster, 2001.
Originally, September 24, 1869 was deemed Black Friday; a day of stock market catastrophe. The history of the day after Thanksgiving being the official start of the holiday shopping season may be linked together with the idea of Santa Claus parades. Parades celebrating Thanksgiving often include an appearance by Santa at the end of the parade, with the idea that 'Santa has arrived' or 'Santa is just around the corner'.ReplyDelete
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, many Santa parades or Thanksgiving Day parades were sponsored by department stores. These include the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, in Canada, sponsored by Eaton's, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy's. Department stores would use the parades to launch a big advertising push. Eventually it just became an unwritten rule that no store would try doing Christmas advertising before the parade was over. Therefore, the day after Thanksgiving became the day when the shopping season officially started.
Later on, the fact that this marked the official start of the shopping season led to controversy. In 1939, retail shops would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date for Thanksgiving one week earlier, leading to much anger by the public who wound up having to change holiday plans. Some even refused the change, resulting in the U.S. citizens celebrating Thanksgiving on two separate days. Some started referring to the change as Franksgiving.
Black Friday on the InternetReplyDelete
 Advertising tip sites
Some websites offer information about Black Friday specials up to a month in advance. The text listings of items and prices are usually accompanied by pictures of the actual ad circulars. These are either leaked by insiders or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.
In recent years, some retailers (including Wal-Mart, Target Corporation, OfficeMax, Big Lots, and Staples, Inc.) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisements are copyrighted.
Some of these retailers have used the take-down system of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a means to remove the offending price listings. Some believe this policy is derived from a fear that competitors will slash prices, and shoppers may comparison shop. The actual validity of the claim that prices form a protected work of authorship is uncertain as the prices themselves (though not the advertisements) might be considered a fact in which case they would not receive the same level of protection as a copyrighted work.
The benefit of threatening Internet sites with a DMCA based lawsuit has proved tenuous at best. While some sites have complied with the requests, others have either ignored the threats or simply continued to post the information under the name of a similar sounding fictional retailer. However, as the DMCA allows websites 24 hours to comply with the take-down notice or file a counter notice, careful timing may mitigate the take-down notice. An Internet service provider in 2003 brought suit against Best Buy, Kohl's, and Target, arguing that the take-down notice provisions of the DMCA are unconstitutional. The court dismissed the case, ruling that only the third-party posters of the advertisements, and not the ISP itself, would have standing to sue the retailers.
 Cyber Thanksgiving
The term Cyber Thanksgiving, refers to online retailer's Thanksgiving Day promotions. According to The Record: 
Thanksgiving Day is becoming increasingly important for online sales, according to e-commerce watchers. It has become the lead-in for five days of online deals experts say are causing some bargain hunters to shop online instead of standing in line at stores.
“Thanksgiving interestingly enough has turned into a really big sales day for us in the last couple or years,” said Greg Ahearn, senior vice president, marketing and e-commerce, for Wayne-based Toys “R” Us Inc. “Everybody’s looking for information about what’s going to happen on Black Friday, but when they hit the Web sites they realize there’s a bunch of great deals there, and free shipping,’’ he said. “And if they get the right deals on the products that they’re looking for, they actually create a purchase on Thanksgiving Day as opposed to waiting for Black Friday.”
 Cyber Black Friday
The term Cyber Black Friday, refers to online retailer's Black Friday promotions. According to comScore in 2008:
Evidently, one of the benefits of avoiding the Black Friday crush at retail stores and opting to shop online is not having to wake up at the crack of dawn. The early morning rush online – between the hours of 4:00-8:00 AM – accounted for just 11 percent of the day’s total online retail sales, while the period after 8:00 AM saw 84 percent of online sales take place. The 12:00- 4:00 PM segment represented the highest share of Black Friday online sales (24 percent), with the hour of 12:00-1:00 PM being the heaviest individual hour of spending with 8 percent of sales.