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All the Presidents’ Bankers

Book Description

Who rules America?

All the Presidents’ Bankers is a groundbreaking narrative of how an elite group of men transformed the American economy and government, dictated foreign and domestic policy, and shaped world history.

Culled from original presidential archival documents, All the Presidents’ Bankers delivers an explosive account of the hundred-year interdependence between the White House and Wall Street that transcends a simple analysis of money driving politics—or greed driving bankers.

Prins ushers us into the intimate world of exclusive clubs, vacation spots, and Ivy League universities that binds presidents and financiers. She unravels the multi-generational blood, intermarriage, and protégé relationships that have confined national influence to a privileged cluster of people. These families and individuals recycle their power through elected office and private channels in Washington, DC.

All the Presidents’ Bankers sheds new light on pivotal historic events—such as why, after the Panic of 1907, America’s dominant bankers convened to fashion the Federal Reserve System; how J. P. Morgan’s ambitions motivated President Wilson during World War I; how Chase and National City Bank chairmen worked secretly with President Roosevelt to rescue capitalism during the Great Depression while J.P. Morgan Jr. invited Roosevelt’s son yachting; and how American financiers collaborated with President Truman to construct the World Bank and IMF after World War II.

Prins divulges how, through the Cold War and Vietnam era, presidents and bankers pushed America’s superpower status and expansion abroad, while promoting broadly democratic values and social welfare at home. But from the 1970s, Wall Street’s rush to secure Middle East oil profits altered the nature of political-financial alliances. Bankers’ profit motive trumped heritage and allegiance to public service, while presidents lost control over the economy—as was dramatically evident in the financial crisis of 2008.

This unprecedented history of American power illuminates how the same financiers retained their authoritative position through history, swaying presidents regardless of party affiliation. All the Presidents’ Bankers explores the alarming global repercussions of a system lacking barriers between public office and private power. Prins leaves us with an ominous choice: either we break the alliances of the power elite, or they will break us.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Cast of Main Characters
  6. Preface
  7. Introduction: When the President Needed the Bankers
  8. Chapter 1: The Early 1910s: Post-Panic Creature and Party Posturing
  9. Chapter 2: The Mid-1910s: Bankers Go to War
  10. Chapter 3: The Late 1910s: Peace Treaties and Domestic Politics
  11. Chapter 4: The 1920s: Political Isolationism, Financial Internationalism
  12. Chapter 5: 1929: The Room at 23 Wall, Crash, and Big-Six Take
  13. Chapter 6: The Early 1930s: Tenuous Times, Tax-Evading Titans
  14. Chapter 7: The Mid- to Late 1930s: Policing Wall Street, World War II
  15. Chapter 8: The Early to Mid-1940s: World War II, Bankers, and War Bucks
  16. Chapter 9: The Late 1940s: World Reconstruction and Private Bankers
  17. Chapter 10: The 1950s: Eisenhower’s Buds, Cold War, Hot Money
  18. Chapter 11: The Early 1960s: “Go-Go” Youth, Murders, and Global Finance
  19. Chapter 12: The Mid- to Late 1960s: Progressive Policies and Bankers’ Economy
  20. Chapter 13: The Early to Mid-1970s: Corruption, Gold, Oil, and Bankruptcies
  21. Chapter 14: The Late 1970s: Inflation, Hostages, and Bankers
  22. Chapter 15: The Early to Mid-1980s: Free-Market Rules, Bankers Compete
  23. Chapter 16: The Late 1980s: Third World Staggers, S&Ls Implode
  24. Chapter 17: The Early to Mid-1990s: Killer Instinct, Bank Wars, and the Rise of Goldman Sachs
  25. Chapter 18: The Late 1990s: Currency Crises and Glass-Steagall Demise
  26. Chapter 19: The 2000s: Multiple Crises, the New Big Six, and Global Catastrophe
  27. Glossary of Financial Terms
  28. Acknowledgments
  29. Notes
  30. Index