History of America’s One Percent – Episode #15

hogaf-logo-wip2In this podcast series we dive into the long and shadowy history of America’s ruling elite through the works of authors who were either silenced, suppressed, or forgotten, to discover the origins of the 1% and from where their power and wealth was, and still is, extracted.

Each recording will be approx. 1 hour in length to allow for easy consumption of the material.  The narrator will only interrupt the reading to provide insight, spell names, read informative footnotes, or provide definitions for archaic words.

In this episode – Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers.  Includes Part II, Chapter X:  Further Vistas of the Field Fortune.  Marshall Field’s  Methods in Managing Corporations.  He Is the Shadowy Dictator of the Pullman Company.  Establishment of the Pullman Factory and Company Town in Chicago.  Workers Forced to Live On Factory Premises and Pay Rent.  The Company Charges Employees Two and Three Times the Cost of Utilities.  This Method Provides Free Water For Use in the Factory.  Employees Taxed $0.50 a Month For Having Shutters On Their Rental Homes.  Wages Slashed 25% During Panic of 1893.  No Decrease of Rent and Utilities.  Workers Monthly Wages Between $0.08 and $2.00 After Paying Company Rent and Utilities.  Workers Rack Up $70,000 Debt for Unpaid Rents.  Strike Declared in 1894 for Restoration of Wages.  Mainstream Media Viciously Attacks the Strikers.  The Company Hires Agent Provocateurs to Incite Violence.  They Burn Down Their Own Railroad Cars to Blame on the Strikers.  National Guard Called Out to Attack Strikers.  Strike Leaders Imprisoned Without Trial.  The President Sends In The Army as the Final Blow.  Congressional Commission Later Validates the Strikers Complaints.  Field Cheats on His Property Taxes.  The Trustees of His Estate Forced to Settle For $1,000,000 In Back Taxes.  Field’s Great Philanthropic Donations Boost His Real Estate Values.  His Millions Left to Two Boys.

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[1] “The Truth About the Trusts” : 266-267.

[2] “Industrial Evolution of the United States,” 313.

[3] Parsons, “The Railways, the Trusts and the People” : 196.  Also, Report of Chicago Chief of Police  for 1894.  This was a customary practice of railroad, industrial and mining capitalists.  Further facts are brought out in other parts of this work.

[4] “Report on the Chicago Strike of June and July, 1894,” by the United States Strike Commissioners, 1895.

[5] Sweeping as this statement may impress the uninitiated, it is entirely within the facts.  As one of many indisputable confirmations it is only necessary to refer to the extended debate over child labor in the United States Senate on January 23, 28, and 29, 1907, in which it was conclusively shown that more than half a million children under fifteen years of age were employed in factories, mines, and sweatshops.  It was also brought out how the owners of these properties bitterly resisted the passage or enforcement of restrictive laws.  The long continuing agitation against employment of child labor came to a head in 1924 when Congress adopted a joint resolution proposing to the Legislatures of the several States an amendment to the Constitution.  This empowered Congress to limit, regulate and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.  Up to 1935 it was ratified by 21 states; ratification by 36 is necessary.  But under a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1921, “ratification must be within some time after the proposal,” and a committee of the American Bar Association reported in 1934 that, in its opinion, no ratification after January 2, 1933, would be lawful.

[6] Eighth Biennial Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1894.  The report, made public in August, 1909, of the Illinois Tax Reform League’s investigation of the Chicago Board of Review’s assessments, showed that these frauds in evading taxation not only continue, but on a much greater scale then ever before.  The Illinois Tax Reform League asserted, among other statements, that Edward Morris, head of a large packing company, was not assessed on personal property, whereas he owned $43,000,000 worth of securities, which the League specified.  The League called upon the Board of Review to assess J. Ogden Armour, one of the chiefs of the Beef Trust, on $30,840,000 of personal property.  Armour was being yearly assessed on only $200,000 of personal property.  These are two of the many instances given in the report in question.  It is estimated (in 1909), that back taxes on at least a billion dollars of assessable corporate capital stock, are due the city from a multitude of individuals and corporations.

[7] “The Present Distribution of Wealth in the United States” : 143.

[8] “Hundreds of millions of people.”  Not only were the 85,000,000 people of the United States compelled to render tribute, but peoples of other countries all over the globe. America’s present population of 126,000,000 supplies, of course, a much greater national field for extracting revenue in profits.

[9] “Marshall Field’s Will” by Joseph Medill Patterson.  Reprinted in pamphlet formfrom “Collier’s Weekly.”

[10] Report on the U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations, 1916, i : 32.

[11] Ibid., Vol. 1 : 76-77, and Vol. 10 : 9568 et seq.

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