J. P. Morgan: America's Greatest Banker

J. P. Morgan: America's Greatest Banker

3.5 4
by Daniel Alef
     
 
Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were staunch opponents of a national bank. When President Jackson let the charter of the second bank lapse after 20 years, it left the nation unprepared and powerless to respond quickly or effectively to major economic declines or emergencies. J. Pierpont Morgan became America's central bank, initiating monetary policies that saved

Overview

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were staunch opponents of a national bank. When President Jackson let the charter of the second bank lapse after 20 years, it left the nation unprepared and powerless to respond quickly or effectively to major economic declines or emergencies. J. Pierpont Morgan became America's central bank, initiating monetary policies that saved the nation from a severe depression on more than one occasion. During the Panic of 1907 Pierpont called a meeting of all the leaders of America's major trusts and banks, locked them in his library, and would not allow them to leave until they had struck an agreement that would avert a national economic collapse--a plan he orchestrated. Six years later the hero of 1907 had become a metaphor for all of America's economic ills. Congressional hearings concluded that too much power over the nation's economy resided in a single man. The backlash against America's greatest banker brought about the federal income tax, the Federal Reserve and the Clayton Anti-trust Act. Morgan was one of America's wealthiest men, yet he could have been considerably more wealthy, perhaps the wealthiest, if greed and money had been his principal goals. They were not. Upon Pierpont's death even Rockefeller expressed surprise at Pierpont's relatively modest estate of $100 million--Rockefeller was worth 10 times more--and said: "And to think he wasn't even a rich man." [5,399-word Titans of Fortune article including a timeline, further reading and video links]

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608043149
Publisher:
Titans of Fortune Publishing
Publication date:
12/27/2010
Series:
Titans of Fortune
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,261,995
File size:
271 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Famed photographer Edward Steichen took J. Pierpont Morgan's photograph. The brusque banker took one look at it and tore it up. "Meeting his blazing dark eyes," Steichen recalled, "was like confronting the headlights of an express train bearing down on you."
J. Pierpont Morgan's name conjures images of high finance on Wall Street. It should, for Pierpont was the nation's most influential power broker during and after the Gilded Age, a man who controlled railroads, shipping lines, the steel industry, money and banking.
Bearish and threatening at times, often wielding his cane like an Arthurian broadsword at fleeing reporters, Pierpont was an intimidating figure. His manner may have been fueled in part by a bulbous growth on his nose, a form of rhinophyma-meticulously airbrushed out of all photographs-a physical deformity that surgeons could have excised, but Pierpont left it there for all to see; it augmented his defiant glare.
His public testimony before Congressional subcommittees could be obtuse and confusing to distraction, or concise and to the point; it is difficult to discern whether this was intentional or just his way of talking. But his public persona masked a prodigious mind-J. Pierpont Morgan was a financial genius.
Unlike many other titans, Pierpont never tasted poverty. His maternal grandfather was a founder of Yale and his paternal grandfather started Aetna Fire Insurance Co. in Hartford, Conn. J. Pierpont's father, Junius, was a man of wealth and influence who headed George Peabody's bank in London.
Pierpont was born April 17, 1837, in Hartford, where he spent his first fourteen years. Junius was a hands-on father who believed strongly in providing his son with the highest moral and practical education. He watched over Pierpont with the same intensity a microbiologist would devote to the study of a newly discovered organism. Biographer Jean Strouse noted how "Junius saw male childhood not as a time for exploration and play but as a training ground for the serious business of life." Junius advised his son to comport only with boys "whose influence over you will be good," and moved J. Pierpont from one school to another as Junius sought to ensure the proper environment for his son.
There is little evidence of the role Pierpont's mother Juliet played in his upbringing or how much influence she brought to bear. Her letters to Pierpont were filled with instructions and suggestions but little by way of maternal affection.

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J. P. Morgan: America's Greatest Banker 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
The_Owl_Flies_at_Night More than 1 year ago
This is a concise biography of a larger than life man who basically served as the US's central bank until he decided to spearhead the creation of the Fed. It's a short read and will likely leave you thinking about JP Morgan long after you finish reading it.
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