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Everything Is Over

Everything Is Over

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Cleaning out the Lehman offices... Source: Chris Hondros/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

In 1862, Emanuel Lehman, one of three brothers who founded the cotton trading firm Lehman Brothers, wrote a letter to his British in-laws, saying, "Everything is over." The problem was cataclysmic: the Civil War had cut off communications between Montgomery, Alabama, where Lehman Brothers was founded, and New York, where much of its business was done. As it turned out, everything was far from over; the firm moved to New York after the war, and created a formidable investment institution that survived almost everything, even the Great Depression in 1929. Today, however, everything is over. The hundred fifty eight year old Lehman Brothers did not manage to survive the credit crunch stalking Wall Street, and this morning, it filed for bankruptcy protection. Another badly injured — but still limping — player, Merrill Lynch, was bought by Bank of America, and fear of a domino affect has Wall Street mixing it's coffee with bourbon this morning. Of course, the demise of Lehman doesn't mean the world is ending — and we've got answers for all your anxiety — or at least a good guess about where to stand so the sky doesn't fall on you.

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