American Entrepreneurs

Season 1 Episode 5

J.P. Morgan: Emperor of Wall Street

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Episode Summary

J.P. Morgan: Emperor of Wall Street
John Pierpont Morgan was a man with an aptitude for acquiring art and making money. He was a man who single-handedly saved the United States from bankruptcy on two occasions, but was often accused of being a monopolist. He held as much power as the president and certainly more power on Wall Street, for Wall Street was his empire. "J. Pierpont Morgan: Emperor of Wall Street" details the amazing story of his life. J. Pierpont Morgan was born into a well-to-do family in 1837. At 20 years of age, Pierpont got a job as a clerk in a Wall Street bank. It provided an excellent opportunity for him to make business contacts and rub shoulders with the elite. Morgan's outgoing, confident personality won him friends easily. He was often invited to social events of prominent families. At one such event he met and fell in love with Amelia Sturges. They were later married. He was quickly promoted at the bank and gained a reputation for being a deal maker. He decided to start his own business. Tragically, in 1861 Amelia was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died. Devastated by the loss of his wife, Morgan distracted himself with business affairs. While mourning the death of his wife, he met Fanny Tracy. After a year of courtship they were married. Morgan's business grew as did his reputation for being a deal maker. He was asked to mediate an argument between the two largest railroads in America. The railroads wasted money and resources laying track side by side. The competition all but devastated both companies. On the brink of collapse, Morgan stepped in and ordered a meeting between the railroad heads on his yacht. They sailed up and down the Hudson River, but he would not let the two representitives off the boat until they reached an agreement. Finally, when it was apparent that Morgan would demand an agreement by any means, a compromise was reached. His extreme tactics worked and the companies were saved. Morgan demonstrated his life-long determination to have things his way.moreless

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