There has recently been some suggestion that in England after the 1860s the trade cycle was not an independent phenomenon but simply the result of lack of synchronization between the long swings in foreign and domestic investment. [Footnote: Matthews, A Study in Trade-Cycle History.] The view taken here is the reverse of this: it was the long swings which were the epiphenomena and the trade cycles the reality, in the sense that when the character of the individual cycles has been explained there is no residue which needs to be attributed to the behaviour of a long cycle. The appearance of alternation in British and American long swings is the result of the fact that British trade cycles no longer came to a violent end but the American ones often did.1