History of the Great American Fortunes - Vol. 1

History of the Great American Fortunes - Vol. 1

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History of the Great American Fortunes - Vol. 1

History of the Great American Fortunes - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In writing this work my aim has been to give the exact facts as far as the available material allows. Necessarily it is impossible, from the very nature of the case, to obtain all the facts. It is obvious that in both past and present times the chief beneficiaries of our social and industrial system have found it to their interest to represent their accumulations as the rewards of industry and ability, and have likewise had the strongest motives for concealing the circumstances of all those complex and devious methods which have been used in building up great fortunes. In this they have been assisted by a society so constituted that the means by which these great fortunes have been amassed have been generally lauded as legitimate and exemplary.

The possessors of towering fortunes have hitherto been described in two ways. On the one hand, they have been held up as marvels of success, as preëminent examples of thrift, enterprise and extraordinary ability. More recently, however, the tendency in certain quarters has been diametrically the opposite. This latter class of writers, intent upon pandering to a supposed popular appetite for sensation, pile exposure upon exposure, and hold up the objects of their diatribes as monsters of commercial and political crime. Neither of these classes has sought to establish definitely the relation of the great fortunes to the social and industrial system which has propagated them. Consequently, these superficial effusions and tirades -- based upon a lack of understanding of the pro-

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