A Gaudy Pageant Moves Gaily to Its Doom
IT IS impossible to make these stories of business and politics synchronize. We must for a moment return from the political story of the spring of 1928, to examine the business picture of that time:
In mid-November, of 1927, after a notable decline in business when railroad incomes were off eleven per cent, the President seemed to feel that a few encouraging words to the stock market were needed. So he told the Union League of Philadelphia that the nation was entering into a new era, that "the test which now confronts the nation is prosperity. Nothing is more likely to reveal the soul of a people. History is littered with stories of nations destroyed by their own wealth."1 The echo of Professor Ripley's words about the "prestidigitation, double-shuffling, honey-fugling, hornswoggling and skulduggery" may have been reverberating in his heart. The next day after this Union League statement was printed, the market fluttered. But on the following day stocks began to climb again with a notable rise in sugar, corn and wheat. Secretary Mellon, returning from Europe, again had given his pontifical blessing to the market and again the market purred in response. The New York Times, commenting in its financial section in the autumn of 1927 on the President's attitude, fairly glowed with approval of the President's optimistic comments, which it declared "had the effect of converting an aimless, colorless stock market into a lively buoyant affair." And then this: "The President's statement . . . dispelled much of the pessimism that recent reports of reduced industrial and commercial activity had created." Wall Street brokerage houses made the most of the President's remark by emphasizing in their afternoon circular the "confidence that exists in high places." Referring to Mr. Mellon's au____________________
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Publication information: Book title: A Puritan in Babylon:The Story of Calvin Coolidge. Contributors: William Allen White - Author. Publisher: The Macmillan Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1938. Page number: 387.
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