Trading in securities did not become widespread in the United States until the Civil War.
After the conclusion of that conflict, speculation became widespread in railroad stocks. Abuses were also widespread.
The machinations of the Robber Barons in railroad securities are now legendary. They culminated in the Credit Mobilier scandal in 1873, which touched off a financial panic.
That panic resulted in the failure of some five thousand companies and fifty-seven stock exchange members. The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for ten days.