Triumphant Plutocracy – Richard F. Pettigrew

Triumphant Plutocracy (aka Imperial Washington): The Story of American Public Life from 1870 to 1920
by Richard F. Pettigrew
(c) 1922, Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago

Richard Franklin Pettigrew, circa 1913.

Synopsis – A Washington D.C. insider’s scathing look at how the government of the United States operated during the time when the robber barons/captains of industry ( or “Rulers of America”, as the author describes them,) were cementing their stranglehold on the throat of America.  R.F. Pettigrew, the first United States Senator from the state of South Dakota, comes out loaded for bear, with both guns blazing, as he takes aim at the corrupt Congress, corporations, lobbyists, the Supreme Court, the founding fathers, warhawks, imperialists, banks, lawyers and many others. It was no secret that he made no friends during his stay in both Houses of Congress, and he explains why in this book; as he calls corrupt Senators out by name, links politicians to their corporate string pullers, and levels deadly serious charges at all sectors of the Government, including a charge that the United States Government has re-written history in official records!

About the author – One of the first two U.S. senators from South Dakota and a successful businessman, Richard Franklin Pettigrew was born July 23, 1848, in Ludlow, Vermont, to abolitionist parents who maintained a station on the Underground Railroad. When he was young his family moved to Wisconsin, where he graduated from Evansville Academy in 1864, attended Beloit College for two years, and studied law at the University of Wisconsin.

In 1870 Pettigrew settled in Sioux Falls, Dakota Territory, where he earned his living as a surveyor and lawyer before establishing himself as a prominent real estate broker. During the next twenty years his business interests expanded to include railroads, mining, and agriculture. Politically astute, he was first elected to the territory’s legislature in 1872 as a Republican and later served on the territorial council before winning the position of delegate to the U.S. Congress in 1880.

After South Dakota achieved statehood in 1889, Pettigrew served twelve years in the U.S. Senate. During his first term in office, the Panic of 1893 ruined his business investments, which caused him to abandon his Republican principles for the lure of populism. He advocated the issues of free silver and government regulation of large businesses while personally attacking Republicans and their positions on the gold standard and the annexation of Hawaii and the Philippines. These views eventually doomed his reelection efforts for a third term in the Senate. Disgruntled, he moved to New York City, where he lived for ten years and amassed another personal fortune before returning to Sioux Falls. He died on October 5, 1926, leaving to the community his home to be used as a museum that would preserve the Pettigrew legacy. [Source]

*NOTE – There are two version of this book available, an early, self-published printing titled “Triumphant Plutocracy”, and a slightly later printing by Charles H. Kerr & Co. titled “Imperial Washington”.  Both books are substantially the same as one another and both are in need of a good editor (so expect spelling errors and such).

Triumphant Plutocracy –
Imperial Washington –

Audio-Book (click an episode to listen)
Episode #1 – An Introduction to R. F. Pettigrew and his book Triumphant Plutocracy.  The Foreward.  Includes Chapter I: Land Grabbing.  Pettigrew’s First Battle With The Owners Of America.  Land Grant Railroads Sprawled Out Over Country.  Forest Reservations Proposed To Save Remaining Land.  Bureaucrats Draw Up Reservations.  Reservations Embrace Railroad Land By “Accident”.  Pettigrew’s Amendment To Allow Homesteaders To Trade In Their Land.  Corrupt Congressmen Re-Word His Bill.  Railroads Trade Their Unusable Land For Governments Best Land.  Battle On The Senate Floor.  Railroad Interests Prove Too Powerful.

Episode #2 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew, including Chapter II: The Land for the People. Pettigrew’s Bill To Decentralize Government Land Ownership.  Public Land To States Allowed To Leased, But Never Sold.  Plan Would Generate $2,000,000 In Revenue In South Dakota Alone.  Revenue Would Go To Building Resevoirs On Rivers Throughout Country.  Plan To Irrigate 500,000,000 Acres Of Arid Land. Plan Would Help Prevent Flooding And Droughts.  Little Enthusiasm In Congress For Conservation.  America Turns To Empire Following Spanish-American War.  Reading of Chapter III: Banks and Bankers.  “The Evolution of a Banker.”  The Banker Is A Parasite.  Banking Under The National Bank Act.  Lending Money And Creating Money.  Japan Abandons the National Bank System In Favor Of Central Banking.  The Inception Of The Federal Reserve?

Episode #3 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter IV: Money.  Congress Violates The Constitution By Giving Away the Power To Issue Money.  Peter Cooper and “Greenbackers.”  The Supply and Demand Theory of Money.  Free Coinage of Silver.  The Gold Standard as a Tool of the British Empire.  The English Domination of International Financial Conferences.  Subjugating Less Developed Countries By Lending Them Money.  The “Global Economy” Existed 100+ Years Ago.  An Explanation of the Business Cycle.  The March Toward Serfdom: Farm Tenancy.  Sherman, Knox, and the Demonetization of Silver.  The Hazard, Panic, and Bankers Circulars.  The Federal Reserve System, The “New York Bankers Club.”  Pettigrew’s Prediction: Bankers Will Exploit Latin America and Asia. Reconstruction Loans to Europe After the Great War.  Pettigrew in 1922: Another Panic Is Being Created!  Central Banking the Creation of Lord Overstone and the Rothschilds.  Federal Reserve Has Enslaved the People of the United States.

Episode #4 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter V: The Tariff.  The Tariff Cuts Two Ways.  Republicans and Democrats Used the Tariff To Doll Out Favors.  Both Parties Represent Big Business.  Pettigrew Calls For a Tariff Commission.  Commerce As a Tax On Industry.  Stop Outsourcing Jobs!  Pettigrews View On Free Trade.  Free Trade: A Wonderful Idea In a Perfect World.  Rich Predicts the Asian Outsourcing of American Industry.  An Example of Plutocracy: Tax On Nickle.  How Free Trade Wrecks American Industry.  Why Mega-Corporation Hate Competition.  High Duties Placed on Cheap Items and Materials That Only the Poor Use. No Trust Was Ever Truly Broken Up.

Episode #5 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter VI: The Trusts.  Pettigrew’s 12 Years In Congress Fighting Trusts.  The Theory of Competition Abandoned.  Trusts Grow Out of Demonetization of Silver.  Trusts Propelled Into Power by the Spanish-American War.  Standard Oil Sets the Path for Combination.  Examination of the “Sugar Trust.”  Sugar Trust Declared Illegal by New York.  It Reorganizes in New Jersey.  Senators Deny That Trusts Exist.  New Jersey: Haven For Trusts and Combinations.  President of the Sugar Trust Testifies In Congress That It Manipulates Prices.  $25,000,000 Extracted In Three Years.  Trust Busting A Farce.  Congress Protects Trusts.

Episode #6 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter VII: Railroads.  Railroads Were the Most Aggressive Interests in America.  Pettigrew Operated a Small Railroad in South Dakota.  Trusts Grow Out of Demonetization of Silver.  The Revolving Door Between Railroads and Government.  Railroads Cheat the Government on Mail Volume.  They Use Congressional Documents to Add Extra Weight During Weighing Season.  Postal Service “Unwittingly” Helps the Railroads Defraud the Government.  Railroads Charge Discriminatory Rates, Put Burden on the Poor.  Rich and Influential Customers Ride the Rails on Free Passes.  Standard Oil Uses Discriminatory Rates to Conquer the Competition.  Railroads Over Capitalized.  Rampant Securities Fraud and Manipulation By the Railroads.  The Notorious Credit Mobilier Scandal.  Congress Appoints Committee to Re-Structure It’s Mortgage On the Railroads.  Committee Packed With Railroad Agents.  They Swindle the Tax Payers Out of $100,000 Per Mile.  Anti-Trust Laws No Match For the Railroads.  New York Judge Declares That Most Every Judge In the State Has a Conflict of Interest On Railroad Cases.  Pettigrew Introduces Senate Bill No. 1770, Railroad Nationalization.  The Immense Concentration of Railroad Stock in a Few Hands.  Morgan and Rockefeller Dominate the Railroad Industry.  Pettigrew Calls For Railroad Owners to Be Jailed.  Long List Railroad Frauds During the Civil War.  Government “Takes Over” Railroads During War.  Tax Payers Forced to Guarantee Stock Dividends On Fraudulent Stock.

Episode #7 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter VIII: Labor.  Congress Composed of Lawyers Whose Only Interest Was Their Clients. Pettigrew: Only One Bill In The Interest of Labor Became Law in Twelve Years.  The Battle To Pass Legislation Requiring Railroads to Report Industrial Accidents.  A Senator Turns to Pettigrew As a Last Resort.  Not Afraid to Make Enemies.  The Congressional Merry-Go-Round.  Fighting Amendments and Committees.  The Bill Finally Passed.  The Bill Gets “Lost” and Therefore Can’t Be Signed Into Law.  The Underhanded Nature of Government.  The True Nature of the AFL and It’s Leaders.  Samuel Gompers. The AFL Is a Trust.  The Status Quo Methodology: Buy Out Opposition or Destroy It.  The AFL Compromised at Birth by Special Interests.  Breaking Strikes By Force.  The Use of Agent Provocateurs.

Episode #8 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter IX: Plutocracy.  The Power Over American Public Life in the Hands of the Rich.  The Meaning of Plutocracy.  The New “Golden Rule.”  Rockefeller accumulates $1 Billion in Fifty Years.  The Census of 1890 and the Distribution of Wealth.  1915: 2% of Population Owns 60% of Wealth.  Pettigrew Tries to Make Surveying the Distribution of Wealth a Permanent Function of the Census Bureau.  Pettigrew Talks About the Invisible Government.

Episode #9 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter X: Who Made the Constitution.  The Plutocracy Becomes the Masters of Government.  Plans Prepared By Business Men to Stabilize Business Interests.  The American Idea of Government Was the British Idea of Government.  The Constitution Was Not Drawn Up to Safeguard Liberty.  The Constitutional Convention Held In Secret.  The Secret Debates of the Constitutional Convention Published a Half-Century Later.  Thomas Jefferson Sent to France During the Drafting of the Constitution.  Constitution Protects Slavery.  States Refused to Ratify the Constitution.  Jefferson Returns From France to Throw Weight Behind Amendments. Reading of Chapter XI: Lawyers.  Lawyers In Domination of the Federal Government.  Why Are Both Houses of Congress Packed With Lawyers?  Why Are Most of Our Presidents Lawyers?  Why Are Most Judges Lawyers?  A Lawyer, By Training and Practice, Serves the Ruling Class.  A Good Lawer Studies “Precedent.”  Precedent is Simply the Continuation of the Status Quo.  Precedent Based on the Common Law of England.  Trained in the Wisdom of the Seventeenth Century.  Lawyers Can Not Think Into the Future, So They Protect Things As They Are.  The Lawyer Is One of the Few Who Can Take a Bribe, and Call It a Fee.  Common Law Derived From the Landed Aristocracy of Great Britain.  Pettigrew Recounts Stories of Fellow Senators Taking Bribes While In Congress.  The Practice Excites Little Comment Because It Is So Common.  Lawyers Should Be Excluded From the Bench, and All Branches of Government.

Episode #10 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter XII: Politics.  A Case Study of the Fraudulent Nature of Politics.  Making Enemies.  Using Political Influence to Threaten Others.  How Bribes Work: Sergeant-at-Arms for the Two Houses are the Bagmen for Buying Votes.  How Politicians Scheme to Get Rich From Their Power.  Assisting With Plunder to Gain Re-Election: Appointing Friends of Powerful People.  Granting Political Favors for Financial Gain: An Example Involving County Seats.  The Tremendous Money to be Made From Locating State Capitals.  Congressional Investigations of Corruption as a Shakedown Tactic.  Nelson Aldrich: Sergeant-At-Arms of the Senate.  Connections and Political Favors: How Knowing a Lawyer, Who Helped Appoint a Judge, Can Keep Your Ass Out of Prison.  Pettigrew Withdraws From Re-Election to Spite a Political Rival.

Episode #11 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter XIII: The United States Supreme Court.  The Origins of the Constitution Redux.  Jefferson Not a Party to the Constitution.  The Ten Amendments to the Constitution.  The Importance of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.  The Supreme Court: A Dangerous Usurper.  Jefferson’s Writings Reveal That the Tenth Amendment Was Written to Constrain the Supreme Court.  Marbury vs. Madison.  Thomas Jefferson: America Dead and Secretly Buried in 1819.  “It Is the Part of a Good Judge to Enlarge His Jurisdiction.”  Supreme Court Never Meant to Veto Laws as Unconstitutional.  Why the Supreme Court Abandoned the Practice of Each Justice Giving an Opinion.  The Notorious Dartmouth College Decision.  Rights of Property Holders Supreme to the Rights of Man.  The Judiciary Usurps the Powers of Congress Forever in 1857.  The Supreme Court Drunk with Power.  Tenth Amendment Destroyed by the Supreme Court.  The First Amendment Completely Gutted by 1920.  The Entire Bill of Rights Destroyed by the Supreme Court.  Laws Passed in Time of War Inevitably Enforced in Times of Peace.  The Supreme Court Has Always Been a Political Body.  What Is the Matter With the Courts?  Pettigrew’s Possible Remedies for the Supreme Court.

Episode #12 – Continued reading of Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard Franklin Pettigrew,  including Chapter XIV: Senates and Senators.  Pettigrew: “Senate Never Legislated In Interest of the American People.”  Esteem for Marion butler and John P. Jones.  The Rothschild’s Make an Appearance.  How To Sink an Amendment to a Bill.  Senator Wolcott of Colorado Enters the Senate Poor, Dies With a Fortune.  The Senate Committee on Finance: Where Men Go to Make a Fortune.  The Ratification of the Spanish Peace Treaty.  Nelson Aldrich and Bribes, Again.  How the U.S. Senate Manipulates History and Falsifies Official Records!  Congressional Witch Hunts.  Senator Edmunds of Vermont Called Out as a Great Bribe-Taker.

2 thoughts on “Triumphant Plutocracy – Richard F. Pettigrew

  1. This excellent work.

    Thank you File & Claw 322.

    The same old crap goes on today with a new generation of robber barons. Bill Gates comes to mind and all of the nefarious methods Microsoft used to corner the PC operating system market with MS-DOS, which led to Windows and their current dominate position in desktop applications. I would not have wanted to be a developer working for Word Perfect, trying to compete against Microsoft Word.


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