In late spring 1857, railroad stocks began to drop. Ohio Life, highly leveraged and overexposed, fell faster, failing on August 24th. As research by Charles Calomiris of Columbia University and Larry Schweikart of Dayton University shows, problems spread eastwards, dragging down stockbrokers that had invested in railways. When banks dumped their stock, prices fell further, magnifying losses. By October 13th Wall Street was packed with depositors demanding their money. The banks refused to convert deposits into currency. America’s financial system had failed.