A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part II-Chapter 10 : Bankers of the Gilded Age  >   Jewish Banking Houses  :    Previous  1 2   Next

Jewish Banking Houses in America 

A short introduction about the Rothschilds
August Belmont & Co
J. & W. Seligman & Co
Kuhn, Loeb & Co [Warburg]
Other Jewish banking houses in America
(coming later)
- Lehman Brothers
- Goldman, Sachs & Co
- James Speyer & Co
- Lazard Freres

The concept of banking is invariably associated with the Jewish people, which seemed to have a particular proficiency for finance and money lending. Conspiracy theories putting the wealthy Jewish bankers, most prominent among them the Rothschild family, at the center of an evil scheme to enslave the peoples of this Earth under their financial control, abound and historically supported the ascendancy of extremist nationalist and anti-Semitic regimes, such as Hitler's Nazis.

Whether such Jewish and Masonic conspiracies existed during the Gilded Age, in the wake of the First World or are still looming in present day's America, is not a subject of this work and shall not be discussed in this chapter. But the undeniable propensity of Jewish people to choose banking as their profession and their success at it, is. The rise of Jewish banking houses in America during the Gilded Age thus deserves our full attention.

Historically the hang of Jewish people to become money changers and lenders stemmed from both necessity and outstanding opportunity. Economists will have no difficulty to explain the role of bankers in a modern, integrated economy. Money as a medium for exchange and as a financial instrument needs to be handled, meaning traded, saved and lent. The banker is the intermediary in charge of such handling and with increasing commerce and industry, his role is also increasingly important.

In the deeply Christian Europe of the Middle Age and Renaissance eras, money lending was invariably associated with usury and forbidden by the Catholic Church. Until reformation redefined the concept of usury and thus allowed banking as a respectable occupation, no good Christian would seek it as a profession, essentially leaving the field to the Jewish. Hence, the outstanding opportunity.

The necessity came from the numerous restrictions Jewish people had to endure particularly in Germany and Central Europe, under the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. Confined into ghettos and often forbidden to do sedentary trade or industry, peddling and banking were the best a Jew could do to earn a living.

The proficiency came with exercise and as the most gifted among them started to accumulate considerable wealth, the community of Jewish bankers increasingly became a power to be reckoned. Community was (and still is) a strength which much helped the Jewish people in all their endeavors and again, it was a necessity and a consequence of their oppression. As a minority in every European country, the Jewish had to rely on solidarity amongst them, which eased their transnational business. Thus a Jew found himself welcome in the Jewish community of a distant place or in a foreign country and trust, essential to business, was easily established.

Bankers of the Gilded Age  >   Jewish Banking Houses  :    Previous  1 2   Next

The Mining Bonanza Kings

The Railroad Barons

The Trusts



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