Browsing "Lincoln’s Revolutionary Legacy"

Unselfish American Imperialism

Often the imperialist views his own expansionist actions as more altruistic than previous imperialists, and even when assisting others in their exploitative operations. It is said that the United States went to war against Japan to protect British, French and Dutch colonial empires, while maintaining that the war was fought against Japanese colonialism – though the Japanese were simply emulating the Europeans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Unselfish American Imperialism

“At the beginning of 1944 as British and American oilmen, with the backing of their governments, scrambled to win concessions from the Iranian government for its largely uncommitted oil lands . . . but [the Iranian government] came under growing internal pressure from forces opposed to the preponderance of the United States in Iranian affairs.

[In February 1944] Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Saed complained that Americans] refused to hire qualified Iranians, [and] employed too many incompetent Americans . . .

During the first half of 1944 . . . the State Department energetically backed the claims of the American oil company representatives then in Teheran, insisting that the two American firms – Sinclair Oil and Standard Vacuum – do everything possible to obtain the concessions.

Throughout the first third of 1944 Washington’s interest in Iran continued, and the reports of Patrick Hurley, Roosevelt’s special representative in the Middle East, reiterated the future importance of the area. Hurley’s saucy observations appealed to Roosevelt, over whom he exercised a powerful influence, for his categories of explanation and logic, and his frankness, were remarkably like the President’s own impulsive mannerisms.

Hurley associated Britain’s presence in Iran and the Middle East in general with the “principles of imperialism, monopoly, and exploitation. Evoking this belief, he appealed to Roosevelt to work for the “principles of liberty and democracy” by obtaining important oil concessions, maintaining a mission to straighten out Iran’s internal affairs, and breaking the economic hold of the British.

Hurley convinced Roosevelt of Iran’s importance, and in January [1944] the President told [Secretary of State Cordell] Hull: “I was rather thrilled with the idea of using Iran as an example of what we could do by an unselfish American policy.” As usual, Roosevelt left the critical details of implementing such a policy to others, and when the results came back he invariably endorsed them.

In this atmosphere of growing crisis and controversy over American [versus British] power in Iran, the State Department now had to formulate a basic policy on the country consistent with its larger Middle Eastern strategy. In mid-July, Richard ford, the American charge’, stressed the need for “a strong stand here both now and in the future,” one oil and the potential “market for American goods” justified, and the State Department sent its reply at the end of the month for his guidance.

[New Secretary of State Edward] Stettinius wrote . . . “a strong and independent Iran” was now a goal of United States policy [which included oil concessions and air bases].”

[State Department advisor Arthur C.] Millspaugh provided additional fuel [to the Great Power conflict in the Middle East] with an off-the-record interview in an Iranian newspaper suggesting that only the United States could save Iran from Soviet or British infractions of its independence.

Rumors of the oil-concession negotiations were also officially confirmed during August as more and more Iranians asked how Americans could be sitting on both sides of the negotiating table. Then everything stopped as the Russians entered the scene. What originally had been an Anglo-American conflict now became a three-way crisis among the major Allies.

American intervention in Iran was an excellent example of how the pursuit of national objectives provoked the redefinition of a regional situation and created the basis for international crises. It was primarily the struggle over oil and the extension of American control over Iranian affairs that caused the Russians to intervene not only for oil, but to establish the principle that affairs along their borders could no longer be determined without regard to Soviet interests and security.

Soviet references to the Iranian crisis in the fall of 1944 were for the most part critical of the growth of American power and influence there and the ability of the United States to define Soviet-Iranian relations. [US Moscow diplomat George] Kennan perceived this immediately, and warned Washington that “The basic motive of recent Soviet action in . . . Iran is probably not the need for the oil itself, but apprehension of potential foreign penetration in that area . . .”

By the end of 1944 the United States had won its struggle to monopolize Saudi Arabian oil concessions, but Britain and Russia had foiled its plan in Iran. Again Washington construed Soviet noncooperation with American objectives as an example of Soviet expansionist tendencies.”

(The Politics of War, The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945, Pantheon Books, 1968, pp. 308-310)

 

The South More Cheated Than Conquered

The enemies of the American South fought to preserve a fraternal Union which no longer existed, and forced that South under despotic Northern rule with bayonets. The North’s politicians claimed that the Southern States had not left the Union and only had to send its representatives back Washington — and all would be as before. The following is an excerpt from Senator B.H. Hill’s 18 February 1874 address to the Southern Historical Society in Atlanta.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The South More Cheated than Conquered

“[The] Northern States and people were not satisfied with [slavery abolished throughout the South]. The war being over, our arms surrendered, our government scattered, and our people helpless, they now determined not only to enlarge the issues made by the war and during the war, but they also determined to change those issues and make demands which had not before been made . . . they now made demands which they had, in every form, declared they could have no power or right to make without violating the Constitution they had sworn to support, and destroying the Union they had waged war itself to preserve.

Over and over during the war they proclaimed in every authoritative form to us and to foreign governments, that secession was a nullity, that our States were still in the Union; and that we had only to lay down our arms, and retain all our rights and powers as equal States in the Union.

We laid down our arms, and immediately they insisted our States had lost all their rights and powers in the Union, and while compelled to remain under the control if the Union, we could only do so with such rights and powers as they might accord, and on such terms and conditions they might impose.

Over and over again during the war they, in like authoritative forms, proclaimed that our people had taken up arms in defense of secession under misapprehension of their purposes toward us, and that we only had to lay down our arms and continue to enjoy, in the Union, every right and privilege as before the mistaken act of secession.

We laid down our arms and they declared we were all criminals and traitors, who had forfeited all rights and privilege, and were entitled to neither property, liberty or life, except through their clemency!

Over and over again during the wat they, in like authoritative forms, proclaimed that the seats of our members in Congress were vacant, and we had only to return and occupy them as it was both our right and duty to do.

Our people laid down their arms and sent on their members, and they were met with the startling proposition that we neither had the right to participate in the administration of the Union, nor even to make law or government for our own States!

Addressing this Society in Virginia, during the last summer, Mr. (Jefferson) Davis said: “We were more cheated than conquered into surrender.”

The Northern press denounced this as a slander, and some of our Southern press deprecated the expression as indiscreet! I aver tonight, what history will affirm, that the English language does not contain, and could not form a sentence of equal size which expressed more truth. We were cheated not only by our enemies; but the profuse proclamations of our enemies, before referred to, were taken up and repeated by malcontents in our midst – many of them too, who had done all in their power to hurry our people into secession.

Oh, my friends, we were fearfully, sadly, treacherously, altogether cheated into surrender! If the demands were made, after the war was over, had been frankly avowed while the war was in progress, there would have been no pretexts for our treacherous malcontents; there would have been no division or wearying among our people; there would have been no desertions from our armies, and there would have been no surrender of arms, nor loss of our cause. Never! Never!”

(Southern Secession and Northern Coercion, the Spitefulness of Reconstruction, Senator Benjamin H. Hill, Society for Biblical and Southern Studies, 2001 (original 1874), pp. 9-11)

Foreign Aid and Santa Claus

North Carolina’s Senator Sam Ervin was a conservative Democrat of the old stripe, and stern advocate of a balanced federal budget. He wisely counseled that Congress had two simple fiscal choices: either to levy taxes sufficient to cover its appropriations, or, reduce appropriations to match federal income.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Foreign Aid and Santa Claus

“The foreign aid program had a benign beginning in the Marshall Plan, which merits the highest praise because it rehabilitated Western Europe in large measure from the economic devastation of the Second World War. As the programs implementing this Plan were nearing final consummation, President [Harry] Truman appointed a Commission headed by Secretary of Commerce Charles P. Sawyer to study foreign aid and make recommendations concerning its future. [This Commission] made a thoughtful report pointing out infirmities inherent in indiscriminate programs of this nature, and suggested the wisdom of terminating foreign aid with the consummation of the Marshall Plan.

Unfortunately, the report was made about the time Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President, and has been ignored in subsequent times. The United States could have had intelligent and productive foreign aid programs with much less expenditures since that time if it had restricted its aid to truly needy nations, and to the financially insufficient nations . . .

Instead of doing this, the United States has converted itself in large measure into an international Santa Claus, who scatters untold billions of dollars of the patrimony of our people among multitudes of foreign nations, some needy and some otherwise, in the pious hope that American can thereby purchase friends and peace in the international world, and induce some foreign nations to reform their internal affairs in ways pleasing to the dispensers of our largess.

On one occasion, the Administrator of Foreign Aid confessed to a House subcommittee, which had oversight of the matter, that he was unable to inform it at the time the names and numbers of the foreign nations then receiving foreign aid from the United States.

I voted for foreign aid during my first year in the Senate on the theory that it was 51 percent wise and 49 percent foolish. Afterwards, I opposed all foreign aid bills . . . [and] I reminded Senators that every cent our country had expended in financing the foreign aid programs had been obtained by deficit financing. I added:

“If an individual were to borrow money to give it away, his family would institute a lunacy proceeding against him and have a guardian named to manage his affairs on the ground he lacked the mental capacity to perform the task himself. But if an American politician advocates that the United States borrow money by deficit financing and scatter it abroad among potential friends and foes alike, he is likely to be elected President or Senator or Representative, or to be appointed Secretary of State of Administrator of Foreign Aid.”

(Preserving the Constitution, The Autobiography of Sam Ervin, The Michie Company, 1984, pp. 80-81)

International Bunglers and Future Wars

The idealistic Woodrow Wilson could be called the father of today’s multicultural hell, while Clemenceau was the product of incessant European intrigue, political alliances, and ruthless postwar retribution against enemies. Both had a hand in the repressive peace crafted at Versailles, and the responsibility for the rise of a German nationalist.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

International Bunglers and Future Wars

“Georges Clemenceau was born in 1841 [and] . . . had journeyed far in those seventy-eight years, from the extreme Left to what was almost the extreme Right, and the old radical barnstormer, anti-clerical, and Dreyfusard was now, as he stood in this room handing the thick book to the German, a personification of national patriotism. The Germans had made him so.

His powers of sarcasm, vituperation and assault were almost without equal in his time, and with these powers he could castigate and finally sweep away the governments which showed any hesitation; for we are in a war to the death, he kept on saying, and we must win. Thus he became Father Victory to millions of French soldiers in 1918 and went into the peace conference with a personal authority none could question. The Tiger – Father of Victory.

Now, as he stood beetling at the Prussian aristocrat, beetling and growling and showing his fangs, the Tiger was so formed or transformed by the events in which he had played a great part that all memory of the international socialist had faded away, leaving a kind of quintessential residue of the purest nationalism.

Moltke, Hindenburg, Ludendorff and the Kaiser Wilhelm II produced this result, willy-nilly, just as the Tiger himself (along with Poincare and others whom he equally disliked) was to assist mightily in the production of Adolf Hitler.

[What] Clemenceau [wanted from the Versailles Treaty was] that Germany could be kept permanently subjugated. What Woodrow Wilson hoped was for something still different. He hoped that the whole world, in all its infinite diversity of races, religions and social organization, could be brought into a parliament of mankind so as to discuss and compose the differences that lead to war.

Wilson was wholly unprepared for the extent and complications of the passionate nationalisms his various groups of principles had fanned into flames. As he had never understood the Mexican Revolution, so he does not seem to have understood the whole exhausting tangle of racial and national repulsions in Central and Southern Europe, to which his own political philosophy had helped give such fierce vitality.”

(This House Against This House (excerpts), Vincent Sheean, Random House, 1945, pp. 7-16)

Inheriting Northern Problems

The South after 1865 not only became an economic colony for Northern interests, but also fell prey to the vices associated with the relentless and unbridled pursuit of profit inherent in the Northern culture.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Inheriting Northern Problems

“During the decade of the twenties, the South surpassed New England in textile manufacturing. A growing percentage of owners of Southern mills were absentee Yankees. In 1929 the region’s first serious labor revolts occurred, and Communist agitators were discovered among the rioters in Gastonia, North Carolina. There could no longer be any doubt that industrialization threatened to bring change. Some Southerners questioned the wisdom of continuing to heed the advocates of the “New South.”

If the South proceeded in remaking herself in the image of the North, would she not fall heir to those Northern problems from which she had fancied herself immune? Chief among the literary expressions of reaction was “I’ll Take My Stand,” published in 1930. A defense of agrarianism and individualism, it was the work of twelve Southern writers, most of them associated with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. During the 1920’s, four of their number (John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson) published “The Fugitive,” a significant magazine of poetry and criticism.

Later in the decade with the nation seemingly committed to materialism and the South in ferment, they began their quest for Southern identity. They found the good life in an agrarian society where ideals meant more than money — in the South before 1880 — and they recommended it to a nation which had lost its balance. Like the Fugitives, Ball found the cherished personal virtues — the code of the upcountryman — secure only in the land. But because his arena was political, he saw the happier life also dependent upon conservative government.

(Damned Upcountryman, William Watts Ball, John D. Starke, Duke Press, 1968, pp. 151-152)

 

Propaganda to Sustain the Northern War Effort

Of German and English parentage, Lincoln’s chief of staff Henry W. Halleck married the granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton and in early 1861 was worth $500,000 from a career in railroads and banking. He predicted that the North “will become ultra anti-slavery, and I fear, in the course of the war will declare for emancipation and thus add the horrors of a servile war to that of a civil war.” While Halleck directed the propaganda war and often withheld casualty figures from the Northern press, Lincoln’s Secretary of State William H. Seward scoured Europe for mercenaries to fight against Americans struggling for independence.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Propaganda to Sustain the Northern War Effort

“Politically, Old Brains served Lincoln well. When the President decided to fire a general he had Halleck sign the order; thus the general’s supporters blamed Halleck for the dismissal. Lincoln liked to assume a pose of weakness and simplicity and to give the impression that others were controlling him. When friends enquired about a military move, Lincoln would say, “I wish not to control. That I now leave to General Halleck,” or “You must call on General Halleck, who commands.”

To Horatio G. Wright, commander of the [Northern] garrison at Louisville, Kentucky, Halleck clarified the issue: “The Government seems determined to apply the guillotine to all unsuccessful generals.” Ruefully he added: “It seems rather hard to do this where a general is not in fault, but perhaps with us now, as in the French revolution some harsh measures are required.” Halleck’s realization demonstrated his growing insight of the necessary interrelation of war and politics in a democracy.

[Halleck] struggled for efficiency against [an] entrenched and powerful enemy, the [Republican] politicians, who wanted to include the army in the spoils system.

Writing to a civilian who was active in army reforms, Francis Lieber, Halleck expressed a fear that the governors would build up a “northern States rights party that would eventually overpower all Federal authority.” He had cautioned Lincoln, but “no heed [was] given to the warning,” and now “approaching danger is already visible.”

Since the North was in legalistic confusion during the war, there were other areas where Halleck needed [Prussian liberal Francis Lieber]. The government’s official policy that the Southern States had not withdrawn from the Union, meant that the Confederate armies were mere rebellious mobs and were therefore not protected by established rules of civilized warfare.

But Union generals could not slaughter every captured Confederate, or their own men would receive similar treatment when they were seized. The Northern populace needed a heavy diet of propaganda to sustain their fighting spirit and the government had to cater to them. The Confederacy’s inadequate prison camps . . . were the soup de jour on the propagandists’ menu.

Halleck contributed his share of atrocity stories. In his annual report for 1863, he said that the North treated Rebel prisoners with “consideration and kindness,” while the Confederates stripped Union officers of blankets, shoes even in winter, confined them in “damp and loathsome prisons,” fed them on “damaged provisions, or actually starved [them] to death.”

Others were murdered “by their inhuman keepers,” and the “horrors of Belle Isle and Libby Prison exceed even those of “British [floating prison] Hulks” or the “Black Hole of Calcutta.” Southerners [he claimed] applauded these “barbarous” acts as a “means of reducing the Yankee rank.” Laws of war justified retaliation and the “present case seems to call for the exercise of this extreme right,” he concluded.

[Halleck’s] General Orders No. 100 were entitled] “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field,” [and] Southerners denounced it for legalizing crime [committed by Northern forces]. [Lieber, like Clausewitz] believed that total war could not and should not be limited [and] said that restrictions on violence – such as General Orders 100 – were “hardly worth mentioning.”

(Halleck, Lincoln’s Chief of Staff, Stephen E. Ambrose, LSU Press, 1990 (original 1962), pp. 65; 88; 102; 104; 128-131)

Incendiary Raids Over Japan

General Curtis LeMay expressed surprised at using the atomic bomb against the Japanese as he felt no military targets remained – his incendiary bombing had already destroyed nearly everything. The use of the bomb is explained by Truman’s desire “that the bomb would provide diplomatic benefits by making the Soviets more tractable” in postwar negotiations, despite civilian deaths.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Incendiary Raids Over Japan

“Army Air Force General Curtis LeMay ordered the American strategic bombers to begin night incendiary raids on Japanese cities rather than attempting daylight precision bombing of industrial centers. The [B-29] Superfortresses honed their skills in three raids against Tokyo. A single bombing raid in February [1945] destroyed at least 25,000 buildings. But the most devastation attack of the war, more deadly perhaps than both atomic bombs together, occurred on March 9, 1945.

Two hundred seventy-nine Superfortresses, sortieing from Guam, Saipan and Tinian, dropped firebombs from 7,000 feet on Tokyo’s residential areas. The paper and wood city erupted in inescapable flames. Sixteen square miles were completely destroyed.

During this single raid, approximately 100,000 Japanese civilians were killed. Many died from being scalded as they tried to save themselves by crowding into the city’s canals, which boiled. By comparison, 100,000 civilians died in the Hiroshima nuclear attack, while 35,000 died at Nagasaki. The raid lasted three hours. American Superfortress pilots and crews in the last wave vomited in their aircraft from the stench of burning flesh carried to their mile-high altitude.

Over successive days, the B-29s progressed to other Japanese cities. The United States burned Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama, then Kobe. Then the bombers moved on to the lesser cities. As Japan had few [anti-aircraft] guns left, the B-29s could strike with impunity.

Citizens were warned with leaflets that their neighborhood would be razed. But few had anywhere to go. By the end of the war, nearly 400,000 Japanese civilians would be killed, mostly in American bombing attacks.

[From] April 1 until mid-June 1945, less than three divisions of Japanese held out in Okinawa, without support . . . Fourteen Japanese divisions and five . . . brigades protected Kyushu. President Truman later claimed, and many American sources agreed, that an invasion of Japan could have cost a million American casualties. This is far from accurate.

General Dwight Eisenhower said that he felt that the atomic bombing was unnecessary from the point of view of saving American lives. Admiral William Leahy, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, and Army Air General Henry “Hap” Arnold, all thought that dropping the bomb was unnecessary. Japan was broken and would have surrendered without an invasion.

The Japanese had no fuel, fewer than 10,000 trucks, almost no ability to manufacture weapons or ammunition, nor to transport supplies to Japan. They had almost no tanks left and remained wholly unable to defend themselves from air attack. Famine and disease threatened most of the population. Millions of Japanese civilians remained homeless. One by one, their cities were being razed. Japan’s air forces had been ruined, her navy wrecked. The bulk of Japan’s army was withering away in South Asia.

Nevertheless, on August 6, the first atomic bomb, dubbed “Little Boy,” was dropped on Hiroshima. [Three days] after that, the second atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” was detonated over Nagasaki.”

(Danger’s Hour, The Story of the USS Bunker Hill, Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, Simon & Schuster, 2008, pp. 195-196; page 443)

Washington Lonely No More in Heaven

In early 1926 a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post in Pennsylvania protested placing a statue of General Robert E. Lee in the Capitol near George Washington. Lee surpassed the latter as a military leader as he fought the grand armies whose intentions were destroying the very republic Washington helped create.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Washington Lonely No More in Heaven

“The following, taken from the News & Observer, of Raleigh, NC, disposes of the recent emanations from that GAR Post in Pennsylvania which seemed to feel the need of getting before the public in some vicious way. Doubtless this was soothing:

“Somebody ought to take up a collection and transport to Washington the members of that GAR Camp in Pennsylvania which recently declared that Robert E. Lee was a traitor to his country and the military leader of an armed rebellion against the government of the United States having as its object the destruction of the Union, and if Robert E. Lee had received his just dues he would have been hanged and the scaffold preserved as a monument to his infamy.

Those provincial fire-eaters would find that, with the approval of the Congress of the United States of America, representing forty-eight sovereign States, the statue of Robert E. Lee stands near to that of George Washington — par nobile fratum — in the Capitol in Washington. In all the history of the world there have not been two great men so much alike.

Indeed, as has been said, “Washington was lonesome in heaven until Lee arrived.” Both were rebels against authority; both fought honorably.  If Washington had lost, he still would have been the great figure he is. Lee’s fame rises higher because of failure to attain his objective, because in defeat he had a nobility and grandeur unequaled except by that of Washington in victory.

If Lee was an “arch traitor,” so was George Washington. It is good company, and the superheated Pennsylvanians will live to see the day they will be ashamed of their resolution.”

(Confederate Veteran, May, 1926, page 164)

 

Colfax's Myth of Saving the Union

Americans in the South had no reason for repentance after being crushed militarily, and in no way did the radical Republican party which destroyed the Founders’ union of 1787 recognize the principles of that Declaration which it did all in its power to subvert.  Had there been no Republican party, the Union would indeed have been saved, peaceful Christian charity and time would have ended slavery, equality under the law would have reigned as provided in the United States Constitution, and no Northern citizens and editors would have been imprisoned in American bastilles for opposing Republican Jacobin political hegemony.

Grant’s vice-president “Smiler” Colfax would be brought down by the Credit Mobilier scandals which bribed high government officials with cash and stocks; he was replaced as vice president in 1872 with another corrupt Republican, Henry Wilson.  Colfax went on to further infamy as a political boss whose expertise was rigging elections.  Below, he accepts the 1868 nomination.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Colfax’s Myth of Saving the Union

Letter of acceptance of the vice-presidential nomination, National Union Republican party, 29 May, 1868:

“The debt of gratitude [my acceptance] acknowledges to the brave men who saved the Union from destruction, the frank approval of amnesty based on repentance and loyalty, the demand for the most thorough economy and honesty in government, the sympathy of the party of liberty with all throughout the world who long for the liberty we here enjoy, and the recognition of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, are worthy of the [Republican party] on whose banners they are to be written in the coming contest.

Its past record cannot be blotted out or forgotten. If there had been no Republican party, Slavery would to-day cast its baneful shadow over the Republic. If there had been no Republican party, the free press and free speech would be unknown from the Potomac to the Rio Grande as ten years ago. If the Republican party could have been stricken from existence when the banner of rebellion was unfurled, and when the response of “no coercion” was heard in the North, we would have no nation to-day.

But for the Republican party daring to risk the odium of tax and draft laws our flag could not be kept flying on the field until the long-hoped for victory came. Without the Republican party the Civil Rights bill – the guarantee of equality under the law to the humble and the defenceless, as well as to the strong – would not be to-day upon our national statute book.

With such inspiration from the past, the example of the founders of the Republic, who called the victorious General of the Republic to preside over the land his triumphs had saved from its enemies, I cannot doubt that our labors with be crowned with success.”

Very truly yours, Schuyler Colfax”

(The Republican Party, 1854-1904, Francis Curtis, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904, page 507)

Hustling Northerners to Save the Union

Without resorting to financial trickery, propaganda and suppressed casualty reports Lincoln could not have sustained his destructive invasion of the American South. Unconstitutional paper money and financier Jay Gould provided the money for war — the latter used whatever means necessary to sell war bonds and demonstrated that indeed patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Hustling Northerners to Save the Union

The Credit Mobilier scandal . . . brought on, or at least hastened, the panic of 1873 and turned the greatest American financier of the era into a bankrupt. This was Jay Cooke. At the time of the crash he was engaged in financing the second transcontinental railroad, the Northern Pacific.

[In the past he] showed fine judgment in his promotion of canals, then of railroads. He did well with loans to the government during the Mexican War. Then the Civil War gave him his big chance and he took it famously. In 1861, the State of Pennsylvania wanted to sell a large bond issue to finance its war effort. No banker but Jay Cooke would touch it. He sold the issue quickly, with a rousing appeal to patriotism. It was the first bond issue ever sold in that manner in the United States.

Noting his success, the federal government asked Cooke for his help. Moving his office to Washington . . . Cooke organized a spectacular country-wide campaign to sell federal war bonds to the public. He engaged brass bands. He hired spread-eagle speakers. He caused hundreds of thousands of flags to be displayed at bond rallies.

His salesmen worked on commission and were not turned loose until they had been thoroughly indoctrinated with the equivalent of pep talks and had learned at least ten ways of making non-buyers look and feel like traitors. Jay Cooke, in short, set the American, or rather the Union, eagle to screaming for money. He disposed of the bond issue of 1861, and of many more that followed. They amounted in four years to nearly three billion dollars.

What Cooke had done was to invent and bring to the management of national finance a wholly new technique – the drive. With little modification it has been used ever since. The boys in blue must be supported by fighting dollars.

From his immense commissions on bond sales and his many other activities, Cooke emerged at war’s end as the greatest banker in the country. “On the day Richmond fell, Cooke marked out the lines of a pretentious country house that was to cost one million dollars [with] an Italian garden facing a wall built to resemble “the ruined castle of some ancient nobleman.” This was the fifty-two room palace named Ogontz. Here he entertained, among others, President Grant, on whom he showered fine cigars and a plentitude of whiskey and wine.

Cooke dazzled Grant as he dazzled most contemporary Americans. He exemplified, said a critic, all of the substantial upper middle-class virtues of a people “newly given to the worship of a sterile money economy.”

One might call him also a vulgarian of money; placed in his own era, being a rich vulgarian merely made him a genuine great man. More than once, editorial writers and speakers coupled Cooke’s name with Lincoln and Grant.”

(The Age of the Moguls, Stewart H. Holbrook, Doubleday & Company, 1953, pp. 51-52)