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John Altgeld Susan B. Anthony William J. Bryan Andrew Carnegie Grover Cleveland
Eugene V. Debs Mark Hanna William R. Hearst Mary Lease William McKinley
J. P. Morgan John M. Palmer Joseph Pulitzer Elizabeth Cady Stanton Henry Teller
Benjamin Tillman Booker T. Washington Tom Watson William Allen White


J.P. Morgan and the ‘Morgan Bonds’


John Pierpont Morgan (1839-1913)

In February 1895 President Grover Cleveland was forced to strike a deal with J.P. Morgan (left) which saved the United States Gold Reserves. At the time the United States was in the midst of a terrible depression and Cleveland's popularity was rapidly dwindling. Cleveland had continued to support the traditional gold standard while his party gradually jumped ship and merged with the Populist, bimetallic platform.

Understanding the crisis that the nation would undergo if the United States gold reserves disappeared, J.P. Morgan, magnate/financier, offered to help the government. Morgan (with a profit clearly in mind) offered to form a syndicate (headed by himself) which would buy bonds from the United States in exchange for 62 million dollars worth of European gold. Cleveland, unable to see an alternative, and realizing that it would be a matter of days before the gold reserves disappeared completely, agreed to the plan, and organized the bond sale. With the deal settled, the dollar managed to recover some of its value, and Cleveland could rest easy, knowing that the gold reserves were safe.

However, when news of this deal broke, public opinion turned against Cleveland even more than before. Most people ignored the fact that Cleveland had saved the United States' gold reserves. When people learned how profitable the deal turned out to be for the banks, who had immediately resold the bonds at marked-up rates, more contempt confronted Cleveland. There were even rumors that he had profited personally from the deal. The issue only helped to accelerate the decline of the Gold Democrats.

Populists jumped all over the issue, shouting that it was yet another example of Washington being in league with the international banks and Wall Street. To the Populists it was the perfect example of a conspiracy against the common man. There was an anti-Semitic thread to their argument as Populists railed against the Rothschilds House (a bank which was a member of the syndicate) as the source of the conspiracy, trying to suggest that Washington and Wall Street were in the hands of the Jewish banking houses of England, and that soon all of America would be as well.

Cleveland stood quietly by, trying to maintain his dignity as the public condemned the only decision he could have made given the circumstances. He and the few remaining Gold Democrats watched as even more of their party ran to the bimetallic platform, and waited silently, through the 1896 election, to see what the fate of their party would be.

In 1890 John Pierpont Morgan (1839-1913) inherited the business of his father, Junius P. Morgan, in 1890, one of the nation's leading financiers. The younger Morgan became a leading philanthropist and one of the nation's wealthiest men.


by Ben Macri, Vassar '99


___________________________________________


"Both attacked the President on the score of his negotiations with the foreign syndicate, Mr. Wolcott going to the extent of using some very coarse language. Mr. Lodge, who is coming to be known as a Senatorial pettifogger, devoted a half hour to abuse of the President, while professing to be in favor of the Hill resolution." —From The New York Times, February 17, 1895


"There was no longer any common ground for understanding between the silver and gold forces; and the agrarian regions were suffering too keenly to reason calmly. Bryan, denouncing the sale in the House, had the clerk first read Shylock's bond. The World declared that the syndicate was composed of bloodsucking Jews and aliens. [...]. By hundreds of thousands, hard handed Americans believed that Cleveland and Carlisle [Cleveland's Secretary of Treasury] had sold the credit of the republic to the Morgans and the Rothchilds, and had pocketed a share of the price. Their vituperative anger was additional evidence of a sectional and class bitterness that now made even armed revolution seem far from impossible. But Cleveland... was unmoved by abuse when he felt he had done right." —Allan Nevins, from Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (p.665-666)


"...the blame lay upon the President. If he had saved the gold standard, he had not saved the country. But he never regretted his action. Years after his retirement, he said so. By that time no one was likely to accuse him of profiting from the deal himself, but he was still not forgiven for allowing the financiers to profit or for holding to gold when easy money was about to be achieved." —Rexford G. Tugwell, from Grover Cleveland (p.259)


Cartoons on the Morgan Bonds

See also Antisemitism, on the Rothschilds


  • Aug 6: Sound Money: Spain and Rothschilds
  • Aug 20: Sound Money: The Cross of Gold
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Gold Balloon
  • Oct 15: Rocky Mountain News: Elected McKinley
  • Oct 31: New York Journal: Buncombe Brigade

© Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press

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Chronology

Major events of the campaign,
in cartoon and story. (Click date)


  • Feb 27: People’s Advocate: Reading Tillman's Speech
  • Mar 19: People’s Advocate: Pitchfork
  • Apr 4: The Ram’s Horn: Rescued
  • Apr 15: Sound Money: History Repeats Itself
  • Apr 25: The Ram’s Horn: The Stranger at Our Gate
  • May 28: Prohibitionist’s convention, Pittsburgh, PA
  • June 16: Republican convention, St. Louis, MO
  • June 21: Denver New Road: Cleveland's Romance
  • June 28: L.A. Times: Bucking a Wall
  • July 4: Socialist convention, New York, NY
  • July 11: Democratic convention, Chicago, Illinois
  • July 9: Rocky Mountain News: A Soliloquy
  • July 11: Harper’s Weekly: Gold Bugs
  • July 12: L.A. Times: The Old Lady and Her New Wheel
  • July 16: People’s Advocate: McKinley's Evil Sprit
  • July 18: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Bryan
  • July 22: Silver convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 25: People’s Party convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 22: Rocky Mountain News: Wall Street's Private Studio
  • July 25: Harper’s Weekly: Farmer McKinley
  • July 25: Judge: The Silver Candle
  • July 27: Chicago Record: Bryan's Tightrope
  • Aug 5: Rocky Mountain News: The Plain English of It
  • Aug 6: Sound Money: Spain and Rothschilds
  • Aug 8: McKinley accepts Republican nomination
  • Aug 9: Denver New Road: Bryan's Romance
  • Aug 12: Bryan accepts Democratic nomination
  • Aug 13: American Non-Conformist: Farmer Hanna
  • Aug 15: Rocky Mountain News: Bryan the Lion
  • Aug 16: L.A. Times: Aesop's Fox
  • Aug 18: Rocky Mountain News: Hanna the Wizard
  • Aug 20: Sound Money: The Cross of Gold
  • Aug 20: L.A. Times: Popocratic Witches
  • Aug 22: The Ram’s Horn: A Double Burden
  • Aug 29: Harper’s Weekly: McKinley the Veteran
  • Aug 29: Labor Advocate: Look at This
  • Aug 30: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Dime Museum
  • Sept 2: National (Gold) Democratic convention, Indianapolis, IN
  • Sept to Nov 1: McKinley front-porch campaign, Canton, OH
  • Sept 3: New York Journal: Li Hung Chang
  • Sept 5: Harper’s Weekly: The Crown of Thorns
  • Sept 5: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Just the Bare Facts
  • Sept 6: L.A. Times: Comrades in Arms
  • Sept 6: St. Paul Pioneer Press: A Bryan Dollar
  • Sept 8: Early election day in Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 9: Rocky Mountain News: John Bull
  • Sept 10: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 11 to Nov 1: Bryan travels 13,000 miles by train, stump-speaking around the nation.
  • Sept 11: St. Paul Pioneer Press: The Divorcee
  • Sept 11: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Uncle Sam Diagnoses
  • Sept 12: Labor Advocate: Their Argument Misses Fire
  • Sept 12: The Ram’s Horn: Building Up His Business
  • Sept 12: Harper’s Weekly: Populist Supreme Court
  • Sept 12: New York Journal: Hanna's Funds
  • Sept 13: Boston Globe: The Silver Dog
  • Sept 13: L.A. Times: Uncle Sam's Circus
  • Sept 14: L.A. Times: Populist Pandora
  • Sept 14: Rocky Mountain News: Playing Upon a Single String
  • Sept 17: Rocky Mountain News: Chinese Immigration
  • Sept 18: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Against Turkey
  • Sept 18: Rocky Mountain News: A Horrible Suspicion
  • Sept 19: Judge: Bryan's Cross
  • Sept 19: Labor Advocate: How They Love The Farmers
  • Sept 19: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Election-Year Friend
  • Sept 20: Boston Globe: Writ of Replevin'
  • Sept 20: L.A. Times: Populist Delilah
  • Sept 20: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: The Sultan Laughs
  • Sept 20: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: John Bull's Theft
  • Sept 21: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Robber And His Victim
  • Sept 24: L.A. Times: Resurrecting Secession
  • Sept 24: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Treachery
  • Sept 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Democratic Jonah
  • Sept 26: Harper’s Weekly: Silver Bullfight
  • Sept 26: L.A. Times: For Sale
  • Sept 26: National Reflector: Rings On The Hog
  • Sept 26: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Bicyclist Bryan
  • Sept 29: L.A. Times: Poor Circulation
  • Oct 1: Pioneer Press: Silver Trust Hog
  • Oct 3: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Workingman's Friend
  • Oct 4: Raleigh New and Observer: Hanna and Dixon
  • Oct 6: Election Day in the state of Florida (not all states voted on the first Tuesday in Nov).
  • Oct 6: Chicago Times: X-Ray of Bryan's Brain
  • Oct 6: Pioneer Press: Silver Conversation
  • Oct 6: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Florida's Lifeline
  • Oct 8: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Democratic Florida
  • Oct 8: New York Journal: Confident Hanna
  • Oct 10: Harper’s Weekly: Three Witches
  • Oct 10: The Coming Nation: The Worker's Treadmill
  • Oct 11: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Resurrection
  • Oct 13: New York Journal: Hanna and Workers
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Bryan as Jack Cade
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Gold Balloon
  • Oct 15: Coxey's Sound Money: Uncle Sam Enslaved
  • Oct 15: Rocky Mountain News: Elected McKinley
  • Oct 16: Boston Globe: Bryan the Salesman
  • Oct 17: Coming Nation: Labor Exploitation
  • Oct 20: L.A. Times: Burning Cross of Gold
  • Oct 21: The Coming Nation: Socialism
  • Oct 22: Sound Money: The Old Party Scale
  • Oct 22: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna's Crown of Thorns
  • Oct 24: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Guiteau
  • Oct 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Bryan's Balloon
  • Oct 25: Omaha World Herald: Getting Women to Register
  • Oct 27: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna, Trusts, and Morgan
  • Oct 28: Puck: A New Civil War
  • Oct 30: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna in Lehigh Valley
  • Oct 31: Republicans announce “Flag Day,” then argue with Democrats and Populists over meaning of the flag
  • Oct 31: Harper’s Weekly: Democratic Wind-Up Toys
  • Oct 31: New York Journal: Buncombe Brigade
  • Oct 31: The Ram’s Horn: Ignorance, Stupidity, and Fraud
  • Nov 2: McKinley wins presidential election
  • Nov 2: L.A. Times: Clown Bryan
  • Nov 4: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: Knock-Out Punch
  • Nov 4: St. Paul Pioneer Press: Elephant on the Silver Pillow
  • Nov 5: Sound Money: Prediction for 1900
  • Nov 14: Judge: Republican Tam O'Shanter
  • Nov 14: Coming Nation: Our Farmers Situation
  • Dec: Overland Monthly: Uncle Sam Looks Abroad
New Spirits
New Spirits
Perceptions and Realities: The Victorian Age Inventions of the era Tramps and Millionaires Yellowstone Park Journals of the era White City/1893 Worlds Fair The Civil War President McKinley