Forty Years of American Finance: A Short Financial History of the Government and People of the United States since the Civil War, 1865-1907

By Alexander Dana Noyes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL RESULTS

THE events which I have narrated in the two pre ceding chapters were of a character to influence profoundly social and political conditions, and no review of the period would be at all adequate which did not make careful account of developments in such directions. The advance in commodity prices; the growth of industrial combinations, on a scale of magnitude beyond the imagination of the previous decade; the sensational speculation in securities and commodities; the overshadowing power acquired, through their bank and company affiliations, by a handful of immensely wealthy capitalists -- these were the typical phenomena of the day. They were dominant influences on financial markets; but they also touched closely the every-day life and habits of the ordinary citizen. Socially, they had two distinct and opposite effects. The first was extravagance of living -- more spectacular in the case of men, like the independent steel-producers of 1901, whom the "deals" of the great trade combinations had suddenly made millionaires

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