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Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Mark Crispin Miller, Gerard Colby Zilg

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Seventeen

A DYNASTY REBORN

1. PRELUDE TO REAGANOMICS

The large colonial chamber in Delaware’s capitol, though packed with people, was hushed, the delegates to the General Assembly showing respect for the man who stood before them. He was tall, lean, and impeccably dressed, his brown hair carefully groomed above a long attractive face bearing thin dark glasses and the cleft chin of his famous family. He was very rich, and now, as governor, very powerful. Yet, in this first major address of his new administration, Pete du Pont was troubled.

Delaware, he told the startled delegates, was “bankrupt,” a pauper “living day-to-day on borrowed money.”1 It’s debt would climb to $171 million by 1978, ill tidings for a state with a shrinking tax base and ...

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