Both eras feature fantastic wealth created for a privileged few, fiercely competitive and highly partisan elections, an ineffectual and seemingly corrupt government and an angry, disillusioned electorate.
And both have had populist movements -- the Progressives of the late 1800s, the tea party of today -- born of economic dislocation that has pressured the status quo, Genovese said.Also:
"I think the analogy between the 1890s and today is better than the analogy with the Great Depression that we often focus on," said Hugh Rockoff, a Rutgers University economics professor. "One of the many similarities is the real estate crisis. There was a subprime mortgage problem in the 1890s that was very similar to what precipitated the recent crisis."