Manual Jay Cooke: The Napoleon of Finance

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The American Civil War was colossal and protracted; both sides were in desperate need of funds. It ended up costing billions. Fortunately for the Union, a relatively unknown banker, Jay Cooke, stepped forward and helped change the course of the war and American history. The story of Jay Cooke, as told by award-winning author Daniel Alef, is the story of Philadelphia, American banking, the Civil War, the Great Northern Railroad, and one man who defied all odds to achieve the pinnacle of success before bringing about what became one of America's greatest economic depressions, the Panic of Read more Read less.

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Click here to learn more! A tale of high treason, prejudice and betrayal Seventeenth Cen The Treasury had previously tried and failed to sell these bonds.

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Promised a sales commission of 0. Meanwhile, Cooke secured the support of most Northern newspapers, purchasing ads through advertising agencies, and often working directly with editors on lengthy articles about the virtues of buying government bonds. These efforts heralded a particular type of patriotism based on classical liberalist notions of self-interest.

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His editorials, articles, handbills, circulars, and signs most often appealed to Americans' desire to turn a profit, while simultaneously aiding the war effort. Congress immediately sanctioned the excess. Cooke influenced the establishment of national banks , and organized a national bank at Washington and another at Philadelphia almost as quickly as Congress could authorize the institutions.

In the early months of , the government faced pressing financial needs. After the national banks saw disappointing sales of "seven-thirty" notes, the government again turned to Cooke. He sent agents into remote villages and hamlets, and even into isolated mining camps in the west, and persuaded rural newspapers to praise the loan. This allowed the Union soldiers to be supplied and paid during the final months of the war.

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It was in this effort that he pioneered the use of price stabilization. This practice, whereby bankers stabilize the price of a new issue, is still in use by investment bankers in IPOs and other security issuances.


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Although Cooke's bond campaigns were widely praised as a patriotic contribution to the Union cause, his huge personal financial gains did not go unnoticed. Notorious for stalling the deposit of bond proceeds into federal coffers, he was accused of corruption, and on December 22, , Representative Charles A. Train proposed a Congressional investigation of the Treasury—though the investigation was never realized. In the Republican nominating process of , which eventually saw Ulysses S.

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After the war, Cooke became interested in the development of the northwest, and in his firm financed the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance. University of Pennsylvania Press, NET by Daniel A. Dan Rottenberg has written the very first biography of Anthony J.

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Rottenberg, who is the editor of Family Business magazine, depicts Drexel as a great American hero who has been forgotten with the passage of time. From that day forward, these three men formed a unique partnership, which played a leading role in financing governments, railroads and corporations. This book is the culmination of more than twenty years of research by the author.

Anthony Drexel makes for a difficult subject; he was always reticent about his private life, and even went so far as to destroy his personal papers. Yet with the exception of Carosso , their research on Drexel remains in the form of private, uncirculated drafts. With much effort, he has located cables and letters written by Drexel himself, as well as several archives that contain materials relevant to his subject.

Among his key traits were decency and respectability; a knack for mentoring young associates JP Morgan was just one of several ; devotion to family but without favoring family members who worked for him ; deep aversion to politics; and a strong interest in philanthropy and religion. After trying out various jobs, he became an itinerant painter of decent ability.

While visiting his hometown in , he realized there were few opportunities there and in , he sailed for Philadelphia. He was accepted into Philadelphia society and married in He traveled in South America for three and a half years, selling his portraits of South American political leaders. After several attempts to enter non-artistic business ventures, Francis opened a currency brokerage in