U.S. History 1877-Present 3: JP Morgan
Born with a silver mustache on his mouth, J.P. Morgan grew up to be one of the biggest, richest bankers on the block. He made so much money that it was considered an insult when he only left his heirs $68 million after his passing. Where do we line up to be insulted like that?
|U.S. History||U.S. History 1877-Present|
He was born in 1837 into a wealthy New York banking family
and educated at fine schools in America and Europe.
Later, he got out of fighting in the Civil War [J.P. Morgan gives money to a beggar]
by hiring a poor guy to fight for him.
After that, he cashed in on the war by selling defective rifles to the Union.
A little flag that said BOOM probably came out of the end.
Yeah, nice going J.P.
After the war, Morgan really got down to business, [Morgan stretches a stick with his hands]
growing his father's banking partnership into an all-Morgan colossus.
J.P. Morgan's personal specialty
was taking over failing businesses and reorganizing them to make them profitable. [J P Morgan flips company's growth from loss to profit]
This helped make him a couple of fortunes,
since part of the profits went to him. Yeah. [Morgan breaks a cookie and money flows from it]
Was he a robber baron? Or just a good entrepreneur?
Was this the same thing as Standard Oil taking over a company
and its customers and making a ton of cash off of the whole shebang?
Well, that depends on how you look at things, I guess. [A girl watches]
The companies would probably have gone out of business
if Morgan didn't take them over.
We can't say the same about the companies Standard Oil hijacked. [The boss of Standard Oil Company throws light on the hijacked employees]
Still, Morgan did create a monopoly of sorts, [A poster displays Morgan's monopoly in the industry]
and it sure as shootin' made him a bazillionaire.
One thing's for sure: Morgan was rich.
How rich are we talking?
He was so rich that during the financial crisis known as the Panic of 1893,
he shook the change out of his sofa cushions
and gave it to the U.S. Treasury, which was running out of gold. [J.P. Morgan shakes his hand]
Seriously. Not the cushions, but he gave them a bunch of money.
Instead of the U.S. government bailing out the banks,
the entire government was bailed out by a single banker. Yeah.
He's kind of the Michael Phelps of banking there. [J P Morgan pops out from a pool of currency bundle]
We're talking about 3.5 million ounces of gold, people.
And Morgan still had half a billion dollars left over to buy
Carnegie Steel Company in 1901. [J P Morgan gives an envelop of half a billion dollars to Andrew Carnegie]
Six years later, in 1907, there was another panic.
Wow, it sounds like people back then really needed to calm down. [A guy screams and runs away]
Anyway, in the 1907 panic, Morgan once again saved the day.
He rounded up a bunch of bankers into his home [Batman stands on the terrace]
and held them hostage until they came up with a plan.
They used $35 million that the government made available to buy stock
in failing companies and lend money to failing banks.
Morgan was even involved in the brainstorming that created the Federal Reserve System [J.P. Morgan gives presentations to bankers]
to try to prevent future crashes, panics, recessions and depressions.
J.P. Morgan was like the fairy godmother of the U.S. economy. [J.P. Morgan dressed as a fairy with currency wings]
Still, the U.S. government decided to bite the hand that fed it
and started investigating Morgan.
The Feds figured that nobody could have that much money and not be doing some sketchy stuff.
In 1913, even as the government was meeting with Morgan to figure out how to stop future panics,
a congressional committee investigated him, along with other big bankers, to see whether they were involved in any criminal activity.
But Morgan gave Congress the slip. a congressional committee investigated him, along with other big bankers, to see whether they were involved in any criminal activity.
But Morgan gave Congress the slip.
The committee's conclusions did lead to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment-the one that created the income tax. But Morgan gave Congress the slip.
The committee's conclusions did lead to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment-the one that created the income tax.
Seems the government just couldn't get enough of J.P. Morgan's money. [A guy takes wallet from J.P. Morgan's pocket]
And, yes, people, in those days there was no income tax.
You paid a sales tax, which was regressive, meaning rich people and poor people paid the same tax on a pack of cigarettes. [A rich mans lights a cigarette]
When Morgan wasn't propping up the entire U.S. economy, he used his money buy all kinds of rich guy stuff…art, yachts, jewels…
This guy was baller. [J.P. Morgan meets Dwayne Johnson]
Morgan died while traveling in Europe in 1913. [Morgan stands near a river]
He left $68 million to his grieving heirs,
which was kind of a slap in the face since he was worth a whole lot more than that.
Well, of course, that's a slap in the face we wouldn't mind, but, uh, just try us. [Morgan throws money]