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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  Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 20 / October 21, 2004

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Content :

1 Wealthy Americans in Politics and Public Office (Part I)
2 In the spirit of the 2004 presidential elections :
George Bush vs John Kerry
     A cross profile of two aristocrats running for the White House
                                                 ____________________________________

Wealthy Americans in Politics and Public Office
Part I : Presidents Vice Presidents - Cabinet members and Senators

Wealth and politics have a long record in America, well antedating its independence and the creation of the United States. During Colonial times, public offices were sought by wealthy Americans to increase their wealth and social status through the power they conferred. The salaries colonial officers drew and used to purchase land were often the basis of large fortunes. The Stuyvesant fortune of New York and the Carter fortune of Virginia are just two examples where the founder used his influence as office holder to gain or preserve his wealth.

After America gained independence and during the first administrations of the new U.S. government, the top officeholders came from the country's wealthiest and socially most prominent families. This was in many ways the consequence of a revolution made by aristocrats, but it also reflected the drain public office made on personal fortunes, when the federal government was still hardly able to finance its debt and had little or no money to pay for its office holders. Only rich men could afford to be president in these days and some even lost most of their wealth as they paid for lavish entertainment and had to divert their attention from business to politics. Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe are good examples for this case.

In the course of the 19th century, US politics underwent serious democratization and both legislators and public officials increasingly came from lower and middle classes. Popularity was often related to a person's ability to convey an image of humble origins or at least a credible link to the common man. Aristocrats had a decidedly more difficult task to win popular elections, although money and the control of the media played an increasingly important role to set the stage. Political parties got organized and soon wielded more financial power, than an individual, even a very rich one, could possibly reach.

On this background the wealthy still widely chose to enter politics and run for or accept public offices. Their motivations were manifold.

continued as comments to our lists of
    
Wealthy Americans in Politics and Public Office (read there FREE)
 

Read more about the wealthy Americans in politics and public office at Encyclopedia of American Wealth and browse our newly published lists :

Wealthy US Presidents
Wealthy candidates to the US presidency
Wealthy Vice Presidents of the U.S.A
Wealthy US cabinet members
Wealthy United States Senators

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Announcement: Part II of our lists of the Wealthy Americans in Politics and Public Office - covering State governors, mayors of major US cities, US Representatives and diplomats 
coming soon  -
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In the spirit of the 2004 US presidential elections

George Bush vs John Kerry
A cross profile of two aristocrats running for the White House

                     

at Encyclopaedia of American Wealth

A friend of mine wrote this cross profile about the two candidates who presently campaign for our highest office. I personally find it rather critical and somewhat biased and would thus not endorse it entirely. But as its focus is on the family and social background of the two candidates, rather than on their political opinions, I believe it somehow belongs to A Classification of American Wealth. You may judge for yourself and read it
here
.

Enjoy your time

D.C. Shouter     
October 21, 2004  

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