History of America’s One Percent – Episode #29

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 III, Chapter VII:  The Vanderbilt Fortune in Later Generations.  The Heirs Build Huge Mansions.  A Dynasty Secured  in 30 Years.  The Great Labor Movement of 1886.  The Agitation for an 8-Hour Work Day.  Potential Political Ramifications of the Labor Movement Surface.  The Middle Class and the 1% Join Ranks to Strangle the Labor Movement.  The Strike at the McCormick Factory in Chicago.  Deployment of Pinkerton Detectives and Employment of “Scabs.”  Police and News Reporters Create a Crisis at the Factory.  Police Fire Into Crowds of Men, Women, and Children.  Radicals In Chicago.  The Haymarket Incident.  Police Attack Peaceful Protesters, Again.  Bombing of Police Allows Massive Crackdown.  Labor Leaders Rushed to Trial.  Four American’s Hung With No Evidence of Guilt.  Other Labor Leaders Pardoned 7 Years Later.  Political Action in New York City.  The True Nature of Political Parties. Theodore Roosevelt Makes a Cameo.  An Election Stolen Through Fraud: Repeat Voters and Tampering With Results.

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Click Here for a complete list of episodes in this podcast.
You can also stream the episodes from Archive.org For more information on the author of this book Click Here.


[1] It may be asked why an extended description of this movement is interposed here. Because, inasmuch as it is a part of the plan of this work to present a constant succession of contrasts, this is, perhaps, as appropriate a place as any to give an account of the highly important labor movement of 1886. Of course, it will be understood that this movement was not the result of any one capitalist fortune or process, but was a general revolt to compel all forms of capitalist control to concede better conditions to the workers.

[2] The McCormick fortune was the outgrowth, to a large extent, of a variety of frauds and corruptions. Later on in this work, the facts are given as to how Cyrus H. McCormick, the founder of the fortune, bribed Congress, in 1854, to give him a time extension of his patent rights.

[3] The prevailing view of the working class toward the Pinkerton detectives was thus expressed at the time in a chapter on the mine workers by John McBride, one of the trade union leaders: “They have awakened,” he wrote, “the hatred and detestation of the workingmen of the United States; and this hatred is due, not only to the fact that they protect the men who are stealing the bread from the mouths of the families of strikers, but to the fact that as a class they seem rather to invite trouble than to allay it. . . . They are employed to terrorize the workingmen, and to create in the minds of the public the idea that the miners are a dangerous class of citizens that have to be kept down by armed force. These men had an interest in keeping up and creating troubles which gave employers opportunity to demand protection from the State militia at the expense of the State, and which the State has too readily granted.” —”The Labor Movement”: 264-265.

[4] In a statement published in the Chicago “Daily News,” issue of May 10, 1889, Captain Ebersold, chief of police in 1886, charged that Captain Schaack, who had been the police official most active in proceeding against the labor leaders and causing them to be executed and imprisoned, had deliberately set about concocting “anarchist” conspiracies in order to get the credit for discovering and breaking them up.

[5] The utterances of these leaders revealed the reasons why they were so greatly feared by the capitalist class. Fischer, for instance, said: “I perceive that the diligent, never-resting human working bees, who create all wealth and fill the magazines with provisions, fuel and clothing, enjoy only a minor part of this product, while the drones, the idlers, keep the warehouses locked up, and revel in luxury and voluptuousness.” Engel said: “The history of all times teaches us that the oppressing always maintain their tyrannies by force and violence. Some day the war will break out ; therefore all workingmen should unite and prepare for the last war, the outcome of which will be the end forever of all war, and bring peace and happiness to mankind.”

[6] This seems a very sweeping and extraordinarily prejudicial statement. It should be remembered, however, that these capitalists, both individually and collectively, had contested the passage of every proposed law, the aim of which was to improve conditions for the workers on the railroads and in mines and factories. Time after time they succeeded in defeating or ignoring this legislation. Although the number of workers killed or injured in accidents every year was enormous, and although the number slain by diseases contracted in workshops or dwellings was even greater. the capitalists insisted that the law had no right to interfere with the conduct of their “private business.”

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