How Old-Money Liberals Co-Opted the *Vox Populi*

"There was in fact a  widespread  Populist idea that all American
history since the Civil War could be understood  as  a  sustained
conspiracy  of  the  international  money  power," writes Richard
Hofstadter in his book, "The  Age of Reform."  (New York:  Knopf,
1972   [c1955].)    Abraham  Lincoln's  issuing  of  "greenbacks"
threatened the money masters, so they convened and came up with a
plan to create demand for the gold they had hoarded, according to
Mrs. S.E.V.  Emery's  book,  "Seven  Financial Conspiracies which
have  Enslaved  the  American  People."   The   Seven   Financial
Conspiracies  unfolded,  according  to  Emery,  in  the following

(1) The "Exception  Clause"  (1862)  which  undermined  Lincoln's
(2) The National Bank Act (1863).
(3) Retirement of "greenbacks" as currency, starting in 1866.
(4) The "Credit Strengthening Act" (1869).
(5) Refunding of national debt (1870).
(6)  The  demonetization  of  silver  (1873).  Also known as "The
Crime of '73." [e.g., see CN 11.07]
(7) Destruction of fractional paper currency (1875).

During the Civil War, the  money masters had purchased government
bonds using the then-plentiful "greenbacks."   Later,  after  the
"greenbacks" had been retired and the U.S. currency was no longer
backed  by  silver  ("The Crime of '73"), the money masters could
demand re-payment in  =gold=  for  the  Civil  War bonds they had
purchased with "greenbacks."  Between about 1865  and  1893,  the
amount of "money" in circulation decreased sharply and there were
"hard times" indeed. 

Former-congressman Ignatius Donnelly declared, in his preamble to
the  People's  Party  platform  of  1892, that "a vast conspiracy
against mankind" had  been  "organized  on two continents..."  An
1895 People's Party manifesto,  signed  by  15  leaders  of  that
populist  political  party, asserted that, "As early as 1865-66 a
conspiracy was entered into  between  the gold gamblers of Europe
and America...  For nearly thirty years these  conspirators  have
kept the people quarreling over less important matters while they
have  pursued  with unrelenting zeal their one central purpose...
Every device  of  treachery,  every  resource  of statecraft, and
every artifice known to the secret cabals  of  the  international
gold  ring are being made use of to deal a blow to the prosperity
of the people and  the  financial  and commercial independence of
the country."

"Those who owned bonds wanted to be paid not in a common currency
but in gold, which was at a premium; those who lived  by  lending
money  wanted  as  high  a premium as possible to be put on their
commodity ["money"]  by  increasing  its  scarcity.   The panics,
depressions, and bankruptcies caused by their policies only added
to their  wealth;  such  catastrophes  offered  opportunities  to
[absorb] the wealth of others through business consolidations and
foreclosures.   Hence  the  [money masters] actually relished and
encouraged hard times." [1]

"One of the more elaborate documents of the [populist] conspiracy
school traced the  power  of  the  Rothschilds  over America to a
transaction between Hugh McCulloch,  Secretary  of  the  Treasury
under  Lincoln and [Andrew] Johnson, and Baron James Rothschild,"
writes Hofstadter.  According to  Gordon Clark, "The most direful
part of this business between Rothschild and  the  United  States
Treasury  was not the loss of money...  It was the resignation of
the country itself into the hands of England..." [2]

                      -+- The Mugwumps -+-

Unlikely  allies  of  the   Populists  ("Politics  makes  strange
bedfellows")   were   the   "Mugwumps."    The   Mugwumps   "were
Progressives not because of economic deprivations  but  primarily
because  they  were victims of an upheaval in status," brought on
largely  by  the   growing   shift   to   industrialism  in  late
19th-century America.  [3].  The Mugwumps had their roots in  the
small-town,  agrarian,  pre-Civil  War  United States.  They were
sort of  the  "old  money"  branch  of  the American aristocracy,
increasingly displaced and  out-ranked  by  the emerging *nouveau
riche* corporate industrialists.  "During the late 1880s and  the
'90s   there  emerged  in  the  eastern  United  States  a  small
imperialist elite representing,  in  general,  the same type that
had once been Mugwumps,  whose  spokesmen  were  such  solid  and
respectable   gentlemen  as  Henry  and  Brooks  Adams,  Theodore
Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Hay, and Albert J. Beveridge."
Henry and Brooks Adams expressed, "in their sardonic and morosely
cynical   private   correspondence   [Populist]   feelings,   and
[acknowledged] with bemused  irony  their  kinship  at this point
with the mob." [4]

Both Populists and  emerging  "Progressives,"  "found  themselves
impotent  and  deprived  in an industrial culture and balked by a
common enemy." [5] 

             -+- "Progressives" Co-Opt Populists -+-

The two forces  merged,  for  a  time.   The Populists had little
financial backing and needed to connect with those who  did  have
economic clout.  Unfortunately, "when the farmers [Populists] and
the  gentlemen ['Progressives'] finally did coalesce in politics,
they produced only the genial  reforms  of  Progressivism."   [6]
But,  writes  Hofstadter,  "successful  resistance  to [Populist]
demands required a partial  incorporation of the reform program."
"Progressives"  are  alive today:  the East Coast "Liberals," who
sneer now at the  "conspiracy  theorists."  (And said "conspiracy
theorists" have their roots in the 19th-century Populism co-opted
and destroyed by the "Progressives.")

---------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------
[1] *The  Age  of  Reform*  by  Richard  Hofstadter.   (New York:
Knopf, 1972 [c1955])
[2] *Shylock:  As Banker, Bondholder, Corruptionist, Conspirator*
by Gordon Clark. (Washington: 1894). Qtd. in Hofstadter.
[3] Hofstadter. Op cit.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.

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