Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter XII
THE WICKED SPECULATORS

DURING the summer of 1905, Dr. Butler of Columbia University was granted an audience by the German Kaiser. They discussed various problems relating to their two countries, among them finance. Who, asked Wilhelm II, managed government financial matters in the United States?

"God," answered Dr. Butler.1

The inference, obviously, was that no one, not even J. P. Morgan, had shown competence in dealing with this aspect of government. Some years later, Professor J. Laurence Laughlin, who had attempted to instill some knowledge of economics into Theodore Roosevelt at Harvard in the '8o's, called at the Outlook office where the ex-President was an associate editor. Dr. Laughlin was anxious to obtain Roosevelt's support in a movement for banking reform, but his former student said that his knowledge of finance was largely limited to arguments against free silver: ". . . when it comes to finance or compound differentials," he said, "I'm all up in the air."2

This being so, it was unfortunate that Roosevelt was in the White House during a period when the attitude of the public toward a national monetary system was beginning to change. The Republican leaders of 1896 to 1900 felt that the problem had been settled when gold became the indisputable basis of currency. Gold afforded protection for the nation's financial institutions and for the man of wealth, or so it was believed. The new conception, which called for an elastic currency, demanded protection against panics for men of moderate means and those of wealth alike. There is a vital difference between this philosophy, which the most conservative economists endorsed in theory during the pioneer work that led to the Federal Reserve Act, and the agitation for free silver. In 1896, the gains of the masses would have been at the expense of the few.

____________________
1
Nicholas Murray Butler to Roosevelt, Jan. 12, 1906.
2
RHP.

-432-

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Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Book I 1
  • Chapter I - Teedie 3
  • Chapter II - Growth 16
  • Chapter III - Thou Goddess, Indifference! 26
  • Chapter IV - Alice Lee 40
  • Chapter V - Butter and Jam 54
  • Chapter VI - I Rose like a Rocket 65
  • Chapter VII - Practical Politician 79
  • Chapter VIII - Gentleman Cowhand 92
  • Chapter IX - The Years Between 106
  • Chapter X - A Job Once More 120
  • Chapter XI - Sword of Righteousness 132
  • Chapter XII - The Nation in Peril 152
  • Chapter XIII - Lord of the Navy 165
  • Chapter XIV - A Bully Fight 181
  • Chapter XV - Reward for a Hero 201
  • Chapter XVI - Yearnings and Consummation 216
  • Book II 235
  • Chapter I - Middle of the Road 237
  • Chapter II - The First Attack 251
  • Chapter III - The Rights of Labor 264
  • Chapter IV - The Big Stick 279
  • Chapter V - Setting for a Melodrama 301
  • Chapter VI - I Took Panama 315
  • Chapter VII - Trimming Sail 339
  • Chapter VIII - The Imperial Years Begin 359
  • Chapter IX - Imperial Years 372
  • Chapter X - The Japanese Menace 398
  • Chapter XI - Malefactors of Great Wealth 413
  • Chapter XII - The Wicked Speculators 432
  • Chaper XIII - Substantial Justice 446
  • Chapter XIV - Handing Down the Law 465
  • Chapter XV - End of the Reign 476
  • Book III 495
  • Chapter I - The First Error 497
  • Chapter II - Among the Kings 508
  • Chapter III - Return Triumphant 525
  • Chapter IV - True Democracy 540
  • Chapter V - Battling for the Lord 553
  • Chapter VI - Drums of War 572
  • Chapter VII - The Final Blow 589
  • Appendix 605
  • Bibliography 607
  • Index 613
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