Friday, February 03, 2006

The Republicans have a dream . . . 1889-style

. . . The fourth fact to claim attention is the rapid centralization of wealth by the corporation combine or trust and the creation of a few score millionaires, whose wealth and influence are becoming a menace to the republic.

The New York statistician, Mr. Thomas G. Shearman, in an article contributed to the Forum for November, 1889, showed conclusively the dangerous extent to which this concentration has already progressed. The following statistics of great millionaires are gathered from his article:

  • $150,000,000 each -- Trinity Church, J. J. Astor;
  • $100,000,000 each -- C. Vanderbilt, W. K. Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Leland Stanford, J. D. Rockefeller;
  • $70,000,000 -- estate of A. Packer;
  • $60,000,000 each estate of Charles Crocker, John I. Blair;
  • $50,000,000 each -- W. W. Astor, Russell Sage, William Astor, E. A. Stevens, estate of Moses Taylor, and estate of Brown & Ives;
  • $40,000,000 each -- P. D. Armour, F. L. Ames, William Rockefeller, II. M. Flagler, Powers & Weightman, estate of P. Goelet;
  • $35,000,000each -- C. P. Huntingdon, D. O. Mills, estates of T. A. Scott and J. W Garrett;
  • $30,000,000 each -- G. B. Roberts, Charles Pratt, Ross Winans, E. B. Coxe, Claus Spreckels, A. Belmont, R. J. Livingston, Fred. Weyerhaeuser, Mrs. Mark Hopkins, Mrs. Hettie Green, estates of S. V. Harkness, R. W Coleman, and I. M. Singer;
  • $25,000,000 each -- A. J. Drexel, J. S. Morgan, J. P. Morgan, Marshall Field, J. [54] G. Fair, E. T. Gerry, estates of Governor Fairbanks, A. T. Stewart, A. Schermerhorn;
  • $22,500,000 each -- O. H. Payne, estates of F. A. Drexel, I. V. Williamson, W. F. Weld;
  • $20,000,000 each -- F. W. Vanderbilt, H. O. Havemeyer, Theodore Havemeyer, W. G. Warden, W. P. Thompson, Mrs. Schenley, J. B. Haggin, H. A. Hutchins, estates of W. Sloane, E. S. Higgins, William Thaw, C. Tower, Dr. Hostetter, Peter Donahue, and William Sharon.

Mr. Shearman reaches the conclusion that 25,000 persons own one-half of the whole wealth of the United States, and that, under the present rapid concentration, 50,000 persons will practically own all the wealth in thirty years.


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