Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 12  Num. 43
                     ("Quid coniuratio est?")


How Old-Money Liberals Co-Opted the Vox Populi

"There was in fact a widespread Populist idea that all American history since the Civil War could be understood as a sustained conspiracy of the international money power," writes Richard Hofstadter in his book, "The Age of Reform." (New York: Knopf, 1972 [c1955].) Abraham Lincoln's issuing of "greenbacks" threatened the money masters, so they convened and came up with a plan to create demand for the gold they had hoarded, according to Mrs. S.E.V. Emery's book, "Seven Financial Conspiracies which have Enslaved the American People." The Seven Financial Conspiracies unfolded, according to Emery, in the following legislation:

(1) The "Exception Clause" (1862) which undermined Lincoln's "greenbacks."
(2) The National Bank Act (1863).
(3) Retirement of "greenbacks" as currency, starting in 1866. (4) The "Credit Strengthening Act" (1869). (5) Refunding of national debt (1870).
(6) The demonetization of silver (1873). Also known as "The Crime of '73." [e.g., see CN 11.07]
(7) Destruction of fractional paper currency (1875).

During the Civil War, the money masters had purchased government bonds using the then-plentiful "greenbacks." Later, after the "greenbacks" had been retired and the U.S. currency was no longer backed by silver ("The Crime of '73"), the money masters could demand re-payment in =gold= for the Civil War bonds they had purchased with "greenbacks." Between about 1865 and 1893, the amount of "money" in circulation decreased sharply and there were "hard times" indeed.

Former-congressman Ignatius Donnelly declared, in his preamble to the People's Party platform of 1892, that "a vast conspiracy against mankind" had been "organized on two continents..." An 1895 People's Party manifesto, signed by 15 leaders of that populist political party, asserted that, "As early as 1865-66 a conspiracy was entered into between the gold gamblers of Europe and America... For nearly thirty years these conspirators have kept the people quarreling over less important matters while they have pursued with unrelenting zeal their one central purpose... Every device of treachery, every resource of statecraft, and every artifice known to the secret cabals of the international gold ring are being made use of to deal a blow to the prosperity of the people and the financial and commercial independence of the country."

"Those who owned bonds wanted to be paid not in a common currency but in gold, which was at a premium; those who lived by lending money wanted as high a premium as possible to be put on their commodity ["money"] by increasing its scarcity. The panics, depressions, and bankruptcies caused by their policies only added to their wealth; such catastrophes offered opportunities to [absorb] the wealth of others through business consolidations and foreclosures. Hence the [money masters] actually relished and encouraged hard times." [1]

"One of the more elaborate documents of the [populist] conspiracy school traced the power of the Rothschilds over America to a transaction between Hugh McCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln and [Andrew] Johnson, and Baron James Rothschild," writes Hofstadter. According to Gordon Clark, "The most direful part of this business between Rothschild and the United States Treasury was not the loss of money... It was the resignation of the country itself into the hands of England..." [2]

-+- The Mugwumps -+-

Unlikely allies of the Populists ("Politics makes strange bedfellows") were the "Mugwumps." The Mugwumps "were Progressives not because of economic deprivations but primarily because they were victims of an upheaval in status," brought on largely by the growing shift to industrialism in late 19th-century America. [3]. The Mugwumps had their roots in the small-town, agrarian, pre-Civil War United States. They were sort of the "old money" branch of the American aristocracy, increasingly displaced and out-ranked by the emerging nouveau riche corporate industrialists. "During the late 1880s and the '90s there emerged in the eastern United States a small imperialist elite representing, in general, the same type that had once been Mugwumps, whose spokesmen were such solid and respectable gentlemen as Henry and Brooks Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Hay, and Albert J. Beveridge." Henry and Brooks Adams expressed, "in their sardonic and morosely cynical private correspondence [Populist] feelings, and [acknowledged] with bemused irony their kinship at this point with the mob." [4]

Both Populists and emerging "Progressives," "found themselves impotent and deprived in an industrial culture and balked by a common enemy." [5]

-+- "Progressives" Co-Opt Populists -+-

The two forces merged, for a time. The Populists had little financial backing and needed to connect with those who did have economic clout. Unfortunately, "when the farmers [Populists] and the gentlemen ['Progressives'] finally did coalesce in politics, they produced only the genial reforms of Progressivism." [6] But, writes Hofstadter, "successful resistance to [Populist] demands required a partial incorporation of the reform program." THE POPULISTS WERE CO-OPTED BY THE "PROGRESSIVES." These same "Progressives" are alive today: the East Coast "Liberals," who sneer now at the "conspiracy theorists." (And said "conspiracy theorists" have their roots in the 19th-century Populism co-opted and destroyed by the "Progressives.")

---------------------------<< Notes >>--------------------------- [1] The Age of Reform by Richard Hofstadter. (New York: Knopf, 1972 [c1955])
[2] Shylock: As Banker, Bondholder, Corruptionist, Conspirator by Gordon Clark. (Washington: 1894). Qtd. in Hofstadter. [3] Hofstadter. Op cit.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.

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