Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. I Conditions in Settlement and Colonial Times   By:

Book cover

First Page:

THE HISTORY OF THE GREAT AMERICAN FORTUNES

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THE HISTORY OF TAMMANY HALL

HISTORY OF THE PUBLIC FRANCHISES IN NEW YORK CITY

HISTORY OF THE GREAT AMERICAN FORTUNES

BY GUSTAVUS MYERS

AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORY OF TAMMANY HALL," "HISTORY OF PUBLIC FRANCHISES IN NEW YORK CITY," ETC.

VOL. I.

PART I: CONDITIONS IN SETTLEMENT AND COLONIAL TIMES

PART II: THE GREAT LAND FORTUNES

CHICAGO CHARLES H. KERR & COMPANY 1910

Copyright 1907, 1908 and 1909 By GUSTAVUS MYERS

PREFACE

In writing this work my aim has been to give the exact facts as far as the available material allows. Necessarily it is impossible, from the very nature of the case, to obtain all the facts. It is obvious that in both past and present times the chief beneficiaries of our social and industrial system have found it to their interest to represent their accumulations as the rewards of industry and ability, and have likewise had the strongest motives for concealing the circumstances of all those complex and devious methods which have been used in building up great fortunes. In this they have been assisted by a society so constituted that the means by which these great fortunes have been amassed have been generally lauded as legitimate and exemplary.

The possessors of towering fortunes have hitherto been described in two ways. On the one hand, they have been held up as marvels of success, as preƫminent examples of thrift, enterprise and extraordinary ability. More recently, however, the tendency in certain quarters has been diametrically the opposite. This latter class of writers, intent upon pandering to a supposed popular appetite for sensation, pile exposure upon exposure, and hold up the objects of their diatribes as monsters of commercial and political crime. Neither of these classes has sought to establish definitely the relation of the great fortunes to the social and industrial system which has propagated them. Consequently, these superficial effusions and tirades based upon a lack of understanding of the propelling forces of society have little value other than as reflections of a certain aimless and disordered spirit of the times. With all their volumes of print, they leave us in possession of a scattered array of assertions, bearing some resemblance to facts, which, however, fail to be facts inasmuch as they are either distorted to take shape as fulsome eulogies or as wild, meaningless onslaughts.

They give no explanation of the fundamental laws and movements of the present system, which have resulted in these vast fortunes; nor is there the least glimmering of a scientific interpretation of a succession of states and tendencies from which these men of great wealth have emerged. With an entire absence of comprehension, they portray our multimillionaires as a phenomenal group whose sudden rise to their sinister and overshadowing position is a matter of wonder and surprise. They do not seem to realize for a moment what is clear to every real student of economics that the great fortunes are the natural, logical outcome of a system based upon factors the inevitable result of which is the utter despoilment of the many for the benefit of a few.

This being so, our plutocrats rank as nothing more or less than as so many unavoidable creations of a set of processes which must imperatively produce a certain set of results. These results we see in the accelerated concentration of immense wealth running side by side with a propertyless, expropriated and exploited multitude.

The dominant point of these denunciatory emanations, however, is that certain of our men of great fortune have acquired their possessions by dishonest methods. These men are singled out as especial creatures of infamy. Their doings and sayings furnish material for many pages of assault. Here, again, an utter lack of knowledge and perspective is observable... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books