Ferguson Niall - The House of Rothschild Volume 2

Author : Ferguson Niall
Title : The House of Rothschild Volume 2 The World's Banker 1849-1999
Year : 2000

Link download : Ferguson_Niall_-_The_House_of_Rothschild_Volume_2.zip

Preface. If we consider the period between 1789 and 1848 as the “age of revolution,” then the Rothschilds were surely its supreme beneficiaries. To be sure, the political upheavals of 1848-49 had cost them dear. As in 1830, though on a far larger scale, revolutions caused the bonds of the governments,affected to plummet in value. For the Rothschilds, who held a large proportion of their immense wealth in the form of bonds, that meant heavy losses of capital. Worse, it brought their “houses” in Vienna and Paris to the brink of insolvency, obliging the others - in London, Frankfurt and Naples - to bail them out. Yet the Rothschilds survived even this, the greatest of all the financial crises between 1815 and 1914, as well as the greatest revolution. Indeed, it would have been a strange irony if they had not: without revolution, they would have had little to lose in the first place. For it had been the original French Revolution that, in 1796, had literally demolished the walls of the Frankfurt ghetto and enabled the Rothschilds to begin their phenomenal, unprecedented and since unmatched economic ascent. Before 1789, Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his family’s lives had been circumscribed by discriminatory legislation. Jews were prohibited from farming, or from dealing in weapons, spices, wine and grain. They were forbidden to live outside the ghetto and were confined there at night, on Sundays and during Christian festivals. They were subject to discriminatory taxation. No matter how hard Mayer Amschel worked, first as a rare coin dealer then as a bill broker and merchant banker, there were strict and low limits to what he could achieve. All that changed when the French exported their revolution to south Germany. Not only was the Judengasse opened; the legal restrictions on the Frankfurt Jews were also largely removed - thanks not least to Mayer Amschel’s financial influence over Napoleon’s henchman in the Rhineland, Karl von Dalberg. Despite the best efforts of the Frankfurt Gentiles after the French and their collaborators had been ousted, the old apartheidlike system of residential and social restriction could never wholly be restored. Moreover, the Rothschilds were presented with undreamed-of business opportunities by the revolutionary wars. As the scale and cost of the conflict between France and the rest of Europe rose, so too did the borrowing needs of the combatant states. At the same time, the disruption of established patterns of trade and banking created room for ambitious risk takers. Thus it was Napoleon’s decision to drive the Elector of Hesse-Kassel into exile, which allowed Mayer Amschel (one of the Elector‘s “court agents” since 1769) to become his principal fund manager, collecting the interest on those assets that eluded the French and reinvesting the money. This was dangerous business: the French police were suspicious enough about Mayer Amschel’s activities to interrogate him and his family, though no prosecution resulted. But the profits were in proportion to the hazard; and the Rothschilds quickly mastered the art of secrecy. ...

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