J.P. Morgan: The Man Who Owned America
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In the annals of American history, there emerges a name that reverberates with wealth, power, and influence: J.P. Morgan. The man who owned America, some would say, and they wouldn’t be far from the truth. John Pierpont Morgan, a titan of industry and finance, was more than a businessman; he was a force that could single-handedly shape the destiny of nations. In this MagnatesMedia documentary, we delve into the fascinating life of the enigmatic figure known as JP Morgan – the banker who seemed to hold the entire country in his grasp.
Wealth power and influence JPMorgan had it all He owned the first billion dollar company He dominated the country’s most profitable industries And on multiple occasions the economy of the United States quite literally depended on the actions of JPMorgan with a simple word or the stroke of a man He could save a company from collapse when committed to bankruptcy aided by some admired by others There will never be another man quite like JP Morgan This is his story.
“A MAN ALWAYS HAS TWO REASON FOR DOING ANYTHING: A GOOD REASON AND THE REAL REASON” -J.P.MORGAN
Chapter 1 : A Fragile Start
John Pierpont Morgan was born in Connecticut in 1837 It’s a privileged circumstances John’s father Junior Spencer Morgan was already a wealthy banker and he ensured that John had the best education the money could buy since he wanted John to follow in his footsteps as a financier. However despite being born into wealth John’s childhood was bleak. He was a sickly child He regularly suffered from brutal coughing vets migraines seizures and various diseases such as Scarlet Fever.
His medical conditions play outside with the other kids Instead you find an inside studying or reading financial statements In fact at one point John became incapacitated by rheumatic fever and his father’s solution was to send John to live by himself in the Azore Islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
His dad believed the climate and salty air would help John recover from his condition. So John stayed on the island for nearly a year without any family And when he was finally well enough he continued his education by 1857 John had studied in Boston Switzerland and Germany was now Ready to enter the workforce.
At this point John’s father was a junior partner at a London based merchant banking firm called George Peabody and Co And thanks to his father John was able to get a job on Wall Street in the banking firm which looked after Peabody’s interests in America Part of John’s job involved writing reports to his father’s firm detailing the financial and political goings on in America which of course at the time was still an emerging market.
However from an early age John’s father theatre that his son was too rational tempered to ever become a successful financier and It’s a new restricted responsibility. One example of this was in 1859 a while on a trip to New Orleans Join me to see mainly reckless gamble by using company money to purchase an entire shipment of Brazilian coffee that arrived imports without a buyer even though John soldier and made a tidy profit.
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The senior members of the banking house including Johns and father couldn’t stand this kind of risk taking So in 1861 age 24 John left the safety and security of established firm in order to strike out on his own. Founding his own company with continued to act as an agent for however Amelia soon came down with a persistent cough that was later diagnosed as tuberculosis.
So right after their wedding john took her on an extended honeymoon in the Mediterranean hoping that the new climber might restore her strength just like John’s father had tried for him when he was younger It was no use John’s wife died just four months after their wedding leaving John a widower at 24. He was an inconsolable mass and it’s believed he never truly recovered from this tragic loss of his wife at such a young age Immediately after losing herself deep into his work more than ever however was John was going through his own crisis.
So with the United States around this time of the American Civil War had broken out and affect 1863 conscription acts should have been John went off the fights but he didn’t Instead John paid $300 to be removed from enlisting and have a substitute stand in his place.
That’s not to say John didn’t get involved in the war bow In fact on the contrary he profited from it hugely. One of the most notable examples was when he financed the purchase of 5000 servers or carbon rifles a $3.50 each from the government that were considered too old to use.
But then the consortium who bought them made some minor adjustments and almost immediately sought the same rifles back to the government for $22.00 each. It was in over 600% increase in price and thus lost it was a very lucrative deal for John to be involved in this war profiteering was certainly not popular with the public office that was the least of his worries John would soon be facing some much bigger controversies.
Chapter 2: The Railroad Magnate
In 1871 John saw the golden opportunity to team up with one of the leading finances in the country a banker named Anthony Drexel Together they founded the Drexel Morgan and Co private merchant banking house which was later renamed to simply JP Morgan and Co And this would be the firm that John would manage for the rest of his life serving as the precursor to the modern banking titan we know today as JPMorgan Chase Now early John’s career.
Connecting wealthy investors and visionaries together and exchange for cover profits. But astronomers are bigger personal fortune of reputation He was able to finance many of these projects on his own. And the return had already identified his first major investment the American railroad system.
Now at the time most of the other big industries were dominated by one single magnate like Carnegie dominated in steel a Rockefeller dominated an oil the railroads weren’t obliged. Actually it was the opposite. There were so many competing companies that offer very similar roots but they often slash their prices to try and win customers.
But whereas most looked at the railroad business and saw fierce competition John saw opportunity. He felt the answer was consolidation moving railroads together rather complete today. Let’s begin to John knew that the bigger business got the more can benefit from economies of scale. So John Skol was always to turn multiple small companies into one unified conglomerate. Suddenly rather than competing against each other and driving Prices. They could set whatever prices they wanted as they owned all the nearby railroads.
So. John invested heavily in multiple railroads which he began consolidating. He take over under finance railroad companies streamline their management and operational efficiency and move the small companies together into one dominant player to crush any remaining competitors which of course he then be able to take over as well John used this tactic to such great effect but it was even named after him becoming known as an organization. But the other thing John did differently to other businessmen and investors of time was very productive role in the corporate management of these companies.
John wasn’t content with simply buying shares that sit back and breaking in the profits .He was a man who craved control John needed to be the one calling the shots. So we regularly used his influential position on the boards of directors to direct the company as he saw feds. He often reshuffled the leadership of all these different railway companies that is liking and assembled them into monopolies with himself at the head of the table.
Of course when railroads came to him for help he refused unless he was given full contro.l This not only gave John the power he wanted this not only gave John the power he wanted but also created a more stable industry which in turn attracted even more investments money from Europe flowed into US Railway companies now that it looked for consolidated and stable things to John.
And this of course made John even wealthier John kept acquiring more rail lines and constantly wanted to outdo his previous achievements and be more ambitious. For example he purchased 50,000 stocks. William Vanderbilt one of the most prominent railways in the country the New York Central Railroads. He then took things even further the following year when he executed the largest transaction in Belvoir bonds ever made in the United States underwriting the sale of $40 million in bonds to finance the completion of the northern Pacific Railroad Before long John owned 1/3 of all railroads in America at a time where 60% of America’s stock market capitalization consisted of railroad companies In other words John was no longer just a wealthy financier.
He was literally shap walmarts are being heavily involved in reorganizations and mergers all of which grew its power welfare. And his growing reputation as a formidable titan of industry was matched by his intimidating appearance John had a skin condition called Rose Asia that inflamed and ruptured the blood vessels of his nose making it very red and disfigured whilst he also had rhino fiber which made his nose much larger and covered in pimples John was actually very self conscious about his parents and got angry at being photographed according to his grandson whenever John had a portrait done he always Redo is nosed. We can look more normal which is why it’s not as noticeable in pictures of him but his starting facial features combined with his towering heights and his aggressive way of speaking.
All member John was an intimidating presence to be around However in 1901 he seen John had finally met someone who would stand out to him President Theodore Roosevelt’s consolidated his northern Pacific Railroad together with two other railways in the region and created a massive new holding company open northern security corporation. And he’d been able to get away with these kind of monopolistic practices due to his close relationship with from President William mckinley. But then mckinley was assassinated and suddenly Theodore Roosevelt became president looking very different view on what John was doing Roosevelt ordered the Justice Department to fight a suit against the company for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 Was John fought this in court.
The company was ultimately sped up and this was just the beginning of a very tense relationship between the two men. When John Hood Roosevelt was going to Africa one year john said good I helped the first lion that meets him does his duty For John though this was mere Order the Justice Department to fight a suit against the company violating the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 What’s John fought this in court.
The company was ultimately set up And this was just the beginning of a very tense relationship between the two men. When John Roosevelt was going to Africa one year john said good I helped the first lion that meets him does his duty For John though this was merely a small setback He was already planning something much crazier.
Chapter 3 : Man of steel
In 1901 Carnegie Steele was at its peak It dominated the steel industry and was one of the most valuable companies in the country But despite netting $40 million a year Carnegie was ready to retire and wanted to sell his company. But who could buy it That’s where John came in He basically told Carnegie to name his price and$480 million which would be more than any other business deal in history And yet John agreed on the spot and later confessed he would have paid 100 million more John made the landmark purchase in 1901 But this was just the beginning of his ambitious plan He merged Carnegie’s deal with the federal steel company and a few other businesses to form US steel .
The world’s first billion dollar corporation which had a market cap of $1.4 billion Just about that in perspective all the manufacturing in the country was capitalized at a combined 9 billion. This deal gave John control over 2/3 of the American steel production. So basically two of the largest industries of the time were steel and railroads And John had seemingly conquered both and he didn’t stop there John helped finance Thomas Edison’s early experiments with electricity.
He then played an important role in merging edison electric with its competitors in order to create general electric And a job is also influential in creating what would later become AT&T that’s for combining companies together and turning them into unstoppable Giants was unmatched But unfortunately the crisis was about to begin.
Chapter 4 : Crisis
In 1893 the United States was facing an impression for the likes of which had never seen before after several decades of continued growth and unchecked investments the bubble burst and the American economy was plunged into chaos Stopped plummeted losing almost half their value. Thousands of business closed their doors forever Hundreds of banks were bankrupt and unemployment rate skyrocketed throughout the country.
The grace is scared off foreign investors who cashed in their American bonds in exchange of sony but surely depleting the US Reserves since overtime. The dollar was still tied to the gold standard meaning anyone could convert their paper money into physical gold And this had more confidence than paper money was actually worth something as a result. The American government always kept at least $100 million worth of gold bullion on handy 95 Most gone and the dollar value was in a sharp decline at its lowest.
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The government had no more than $9 million worth of gold reserves which meant that it was in danger of defaulting on its loans at any moment. Was a **** final goal Just spread more panic having the domino effect when more investors pulled that money out of the US And depleted the reserves even further. The US Didn’t have a central bank at the time to rescue them and that the situation was extremely dire President Cleveland understood that this was a crossroads moment for America that would forever alter its course.
The traditional strategy of simply selling more bonds to the American people wouldn’t work fast enough John knew this was the time for Jurassic and a media action so he travelled to Washington to meet the president layout his game plan in order to bring America back from the brink of an economic disaster John Dodas scheme was the fully privacy syndicate consisting of the most prominent bankers in the country who had worked together with foreign investors to shore up America’s gold reserves is syndica of a to purchase $65 million worth of 30 year old bonds using 3.5 billion ounces of gold.
Thanks to an old civil war statutes president Cleveland could agree to the deal right then and there without having to wait for approval from Congress Once Cleveland sign john Wyatt has met in New York and told him to act And in only 22 minutes they brought out all the gold bonds John’s decisive actions had an immediate calming effect on the volatile financial markets restored faith in the economy John Adore a single handedly saved them from total clamps.
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And of course being the shrewd businessman that he was it also made a large profit from the enterprise by securing generous rates on the gold bonds that he purchased. And that’s what John had saved the day and helped bail out the government It also raised concerns it illustrated the vast influence of power of one single banker on the entire US Economy and some asked whether his motivations were really patriotic or simply opportunistic to line his own pockets at the next election.
The relationship between big banks and the government with a hot topic for the Democrats But John and his banker friends donated heavily to the Republican nominee who won the election instead So for now John kept his close ties of the government But this but this was not the only time that John was instrumental in stabilizing the American economy when stabilizing the American economy in 1907 the country was facing another deepening financial crisis which had to several banks being on the verge of bankruptcy leading to hordes of people queuing up around the block to withdraw their money from their bank accounts.
The government reportedly had to tell bank tellers to deliberately count the money slower to try and reduce the rate cash was being withdrawn. Because if ever all that money out at the same time it can be catastrophic by this point Roosevelt was the president And as we already know he certainly did not see eye to eye with John on most things. But the crisis of 1907 was so dire that they both agreed it would be an America’s best interest if the government and big business work together to save the country from falling into the pressure So Roosevelt called on JP Morgan to salvage the situation. Once again John strategy was to spend a lot of money where it was needed most.
He summoned dozens of the leading finances and leaders of the nation’s biggest banks and trusts to join him in his private library on Madison Ave library on Madison Ave and decide on the best course of action John’s planet was essentially for them to invest in their smaller competitors John concluded that although some banks would inevitably fail others could still be saved.
So he and his associates the positive giant sums of money in a number of banks so that they would be able to pay their depositors and avoid declaring bankruptcy after revealing his plan John then locked the door for the bankers negotiated among themselves literally locking them in until they agreed on a resolution. By the morning everyone had agreed with John’s plan and with Roosevelt’s approval.
The US Treasury also contributed twenty-five million showing the level of trust and respect the president had for John’s business sense What’s remarkable is the job of 70 years old at this point and negotiated all of this while having a terrible cold meaning he was constantly coughing and sneezing while saving the US Economy.
But his plan ultimately worked not to capital was injected back into the economy Public confidence was restored in America’s banking system And yet another economic the economic disaster was averted thanks to John’s wheelings and aliens. But whilst he was once again briefly labelled as a hero almost immediately people began to realize just how dependent they had become on one single man .
Chapter 5 : legacy
John was facing increased scrutiny. The age of the robber baron who could conduct his business unchecked and unimpeded or slowly coming to an end as the American public was growing increasingly wary of a handful of businessman welding so much power and influence. John was summoned to testify before the Pujo Committee .They wanted to investigate the true reach of Wall Street’s money trust and its role in the American economy John was front and center during the Peugeot Committee and he became the face of Wall Street power despite his financial success John’s mental state was deteriorating.
He had multiple nervous breakdowns and he struggled to deal with the public’s negative portrayal of him in the media Ironically he was actually due to board the Titanic for his maiden voyage but due to health issues pulled out at the last moment Meanwhile the Peugeot Committee paved the way for the establishment of the Federal Reserve since it was clear they couldn’t just rely on a handful ultra rich and powerful individuals to step in and fix the economy.
But John but John would never see the repercussions of this investigation because month data on March 31st 1913 the 75 year old financier died while on vacation in bro after his death John’s son took over the business and continued his expansion. In fact even in present day there is still concerns the bank is too powerful It’s undergone countless acquisitions and mergers over the year something John himself would have been proud of like mergers with bank one best earns and both notably of all in the year 2000 the merge with Chase Bank to create JPMorgan Chase with Rated $3 trillion in assets after 200 years of consolidation in the banking industry JB Morgan Chase is the biggest bank in the world by market capitalization And so it was the Indian will be divided on John Pip on organ. There’s no doubt his legacy lives on But personally when it comes to the era .