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– An introduction to Gustavus Myers and his book History of Great American Fortunes. Some info about the podcast series and how to get the most out of it. The Preface to the 1909 Edition of the book. Includes Volume I, Part I, Chapter I: The Great Proprietary Estates. British and Dutch Corporations Colonize America. Importation of Slaves, Servants, Debtors and Wives. Dutch Patroons and Land Monopolies Dominate the Colonies. Poor Treatment of the Workers.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part I, Chapter II: The Sway of the Landgraves. Land Monopolies Swell With Power and Wealth. Land Barons Vested With Feudal Rights. Sharp Distinctions in Law Between Landlords and Poor Tenants. Corrupt Land Grants From Governor Fletcher. Entire States As Personal Property. Attempted Seizure of Fraudulent Land Patents. Landed Magnates Infest the Representative Assemblies. Economic Propulsion of the American Revolution. Some Wealthy Founding Fathers. Approaching Age of the Millionaire.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part I, Chapter III: The Rise of the Trading Class & Volume I, Part I, Chapter IV: The Shipping Fortunes. Traders and Shippers Rise To Power. Conditions of Tenants on Feudal Estates. Usury Becomes Rampant. Bonded Servitude. Colonial Manufacturing Interferes With British Monopolies. Smuggling, A Common Practice. Pirates and Privateers. Wealth From Fisheries, Whaling, Shipbuilding, and War. Free Trade and the American Revolution.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part I, Chapter V: The Shippers and Their Times. Shippers and Traders Dominate After Revolution. Snatching Up Control of the New Government. Chinese Knockoffs and Health Hazards Infest Markets. Tax Breaks For the Rich. Poverty a Crime In America. Imprisoned Indefinitely for Debt. 75,000 Thrown In Debtors Prison In 1829. Too Rich To Jail. Astor and Girard Fortunes Tower Above All Others.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part I, Chapter VI: Girard – Richest of the Shippers. Stephen Girard’s Whitewashed Legacy. His Humble Origins. A Miserable Miser. Profiting From the Haitian Revolution. Purchases First Central Bank. How He Treats His Employees. Girard Single-handedly Saves US Government With Usurious War Loans. Becomes Director of the Second Bank of the United States. The Bank Is Caught Bribing The Press. His Massive Fortune Left to Philanthropy.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part II, Chapter I: The Origin of Huge City Estates. Feudal Lords in 1846. Aristocracy Founded in City Land. City Land Impervious to Changing Economic Conditions. Huge Expansion of Urban Populations. New York Becomes the Center of Trade. Astor Richer Than Many Millions of People Combined. Cheating on Property Taxes.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Volume I, Part II, Chapter II: The Inception of the Astor Fortune. Astor’s Early Career. Incorporation of the American Fur Company. Expedition to Astoria, Oregon. Accusations of Treason During the War of 1812. Astor Brazenly Violates the Law. His Armed Agents in the West. Swindling the Indians with Whiskey. Numerous Pleas for Justice Sent to the Secretary of War. The Indians Paid With Overpriced Merchandise. The Traders Rig the Scales. Indians Revolt Against These Injustices. Indians Murdered by US Military. Astor’s $500,000 Annual Revenue From Fur Trade. His Agent’s Meager Earnings. $35,000 to Lewis Cass, Secretary of War.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter III: The Growth of the Astor Fortune. Astor’s Living Conditions. Astor Above the Law. Astor and the China Trade. His Ships Unmolested During the War of 1812. Fraud Permeating All Sectors of Business. Astor Purchases the Morris Estate. Public Uproar Over His Land-Grabbing. Sells Land to Government At Five Times Its Price. Land Grants From Corrupt Government Officials. The Plunder of the New York Treasury. The City Gives Away Land. Huge Favors From New York City to His Benefit. Astor Preys On Others Misfortune.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter IV: The Ramifications of the Astor Fortune. Bankers – The Masters Of the Masters. The Power of Banks To Manufacture Money. The Constitution A Trifle For The Bankers. Banknotes Ruled Not “Bills Of Credit”. Bank of New York Injects Itself Into Politics. Aaron Burr Secures Charter For Manhattan Company Under Suspicious Conditions. The Manhattan Company: A Secret Bank. Charter For Mercantile Bank Secured By Bribery. Bank of America Conceived In Flagrant Corruption. Bribery and the Chemical Bank. Bribery A Crime In Name Only. Astor’s Banking Activities. Corruption Blamed on Lobbyists. Wildcat Currency. Workingmen’s Party Protests. Movement Betrayed By Its Leaders. The Panic of 1837.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter V: The Momentum of the Astor Fortune. Astor Profits Handsomely During Panic of 1837. The Massive Influx Of Immigrants Into New York City. Astor Evades Property Assessments. Rich Families Remove To Other States To Avoid Taxes. Swaying Public Opinion. Funds To Churches, Newspapers, Colleges, Politicians, and Judges. Property Qualifications For Suffrage Dissolve. Voting By Workers A Threat To Wealthy. Corrupting The Vote. Repeaters, Dilution, and Purchasing of Votes. Both Political Parties Dominated By Wealthy Interests. Astor’s Towering Fortune Eclipses All Others. The Death Of John Jacob Astor.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter VI: The Propulsion of the Astor Fortune. John Jacob Astor Leaves Behind $20 Million. The Lifestyle of his heir, William B. Astor. An Endless Chain of Corruption. Astor’s Investments in the New York Central Railroad. Toe To Toe With Commodore Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt Proves Himself The Master Of Corruption. Astor, Boss Tweed, and Tammany Hall. Astor On Committee To Investigate His Cronies. $60,000,000 Swindle – Viaduct Railroad. Connections to Elihu Root. Astor’s Enormous Rents From Tenement Houses. The Deadly Conditions Of These Tenements. Humanity Of No Consequence. Tenement Houses Owned By Churches. William B. Astor Leaves Behind $100,000,000.r.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter VII: The Climax of the Astor Fortune. William Astor Marries Into The Schermerhorn Clan. Centralizing Wealth Through Marriage. Law The Most Valuable Asset Of All. Astor Manipulates Property Assessments. The Fourth Generation Of Astors Emerges. The Parsimonious Habits Of Their Fathers Abandoned. They Build Opulent Mansions. William Waldorf Astor Gives Up His American Citizenship. “Reform Movements” Tools Of The Rich. Proximity Of Palaces To Poverty.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter VIII: Other Land Fortunes Considered. The Goelet Fortune. Deep Family Links To Notorious Briber Frederick Phillips. Large Grants of Land From Corrupt Romaine Administration. Allowed To Pay For Land In Installments. Links To United States Bank By Marriage. Founders of The Chemical Bank. Bribery Charges Swirl Around Chemical Bank Charter. The Crimes Of One Generation Become The Glories Of Another. Masters of The Art Of Miserliness. The Rhinelander Fortune. Great Land Holdings Acquired From Trinity Church. Land Acquired From Corrupt City Officials. Land Acquired Through Marriage. The Schermerhorn Fortune. Their Land Also Acquired From Corrupt City Officials. Their Interests In The Bank Of New York. The Longworth Fortune In Cincinnati. Longworth’s Vagaries. The Longworths Go To Congress. Marriage Into The Roosevelt Family. The Field Fortune and Levi Leiter In Chicago. Fields Early Dry Goods Business. High Prices For Shoddy Materials During The Civil War.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter IX: The Field Fortune In Extenso. Land For Practically Nothing. Land Values Steadily Increase. Fortunes Made During Panic Years. Field’s Vast Real Estate Holdings. He Makes $500 – $700 An Hour. How He Paid His Workers. Low Wages and Prostitution. Cutting Out the Middle Man. His Factories Spread Across the Globe. His Bond and Stock Holdings. The Director of Trusts.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part II, Chapter X: Further Vistas of the Field Fortune. Marshall Field’s Methods in Managing Corporations. He Is the Shadowy Dictator of the Pullman Company. Establishment of the Pullman Factory and Company Town in Chicago. Workers Forced to Live On Factory Premises and Pay Rent. The Company Charges Employees Two and Three Times the Cost of Utilities. This Method Provides Free Water For Use in the Factory. Employees Taxed $0.50 a Month For Having Shutters On Their Rental Homes. Wages Slashed 25% During Panic of 1893. No Decrease of Rent and Utilities. Workers Monthly Wages Between $0.08 and $2.00 After Paying Company Rent and Utilities. Workers Rack Up $70,000 Debt for Unpaid Rents. Strike Declared in 1894 for Restoration of Wages. Mainstream Media Viciously Attacks the Strikers. The Company Hires Agent Provocateurs to Incite Violence. They Burn Down Their Own Railroad Cars to Blame on the Strikers. National Guard Called Out to Attack Strikers. Strike Leaders Imprisoned Without Trial. The President Sends In The Army as the Final Blow. Congressional Commission Later Validates the Strikers Complaints. Field Cheats on His Property Taxes. The Trustees of His Estate Forced to Settle For $1,000,000 In Back Taxes. Field’s Great Philanthropic Donations Boost His Real Estate Values. His Millions Left to Two Boys.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter I: The Seizure of the Public Domain. Factory Owner’s Fortunes Lag Behind the Railroad Magnates. Continuing Domination of Government By Business. Vast Swaths of Land Into the Hands of Speculators and Corporations. Land Speculators and Their Banking Adjuncts. Land Continually Secured By Bribery. The “Yazoo Claims” Scandal. Congress Reacts to Scandal With New Laws. Reform Laws Even Easier To Exploit. Milwaukee, 1847: 6,400+ Land Claims and Only 40 Settlers. Huge Gifts of Land to Railroads and Canal Corporations. The Truth About Privatization: Canals Privately Owned, Publicly Financed. 4,000,000 Acres To a Handful of Canal Corporations. Fraudulent Surveys Give Corporations Vast Copper Lands. Valuable Natural Resources NEVER Recovered. They Fail To Complete Construction. Beg Congress For Further Gifts of Land and Money. Cash the Great Persuader of Government.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter I: The Seizure of the Public Domain, continued. Corruption Totally Out of Control in America. States Convene Constitutional Conventions in the 1850’s. They Attempt to Amend the Constitution to Rid Themselves of Nonstop Corruption. Two-Thirds of All Property in Massachusetts Owned by Corporations in 1853. The Complete Impotence of the People to Stop Corruption. 155,000,000 Acres of Land to the Railroads. Land Given On Strict Condition of Railroad Completion. Railroads Bribe Congress to Extend Construction Periods. Railroads Sell Off Land Instead of Building On It. Only 607,000 Acres Recouped by the Government for Failure to Complete Construction. These Small Forfeitures Overturned by the Judicial System. The Supreme Court Legalizes Fraud. Coal and Iron Declared Not to Be Minerals. Railroads Relieve Themselves of Property Taxes Through Lobbying Government. The American Aristocracy Emerges. Laws Passed For Supposed Benefit of the People, Really Benefit Corporations. The Desert Land Law, The Stone and Timber Act, The “Cash Sales” Act, and The Exchange of Land Law. National Forest Reservations: The Creation of Railroad Corporations? Government “Accidentally” Includes Worthless Railroad Land in Forest Reservation Area. Railroads Swap Worthless Land for Mineral, Timber and Agricultural Land. The Plundering of Mineral Wealth Via the Coal Land Act. Oil Companies Become Hotbeds of Bribery and Corruption. Every Administration and Political Party Since the American Revolution Corrupted.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter II: A Necessary Contrast. Who Is Really Behind the Curtain In America? Covert Manipulation of Government. The Railroads Reign From 1845 to 1890. The Terrible Conditions of the Masses. Going On Strike a Crime. First Labor Strike in America in 1803. The Magnificent Slum Populations. From Sunrise to Sunset: the Twelve, Fourteen, and Sixteen Hour Workday. The Myth of the “Good Old Days” In America. Agitation For the Ten Hour Workday in 1825. Churches and Newspapers Assail The Labor Strikes. A Plea to Congress is a Plea to Their Exploiters. The Manufacturing of Money: An Enormous Injustice. Militia Used To Break Strikes. Breaking Up Labor Unions On Conspiracy Charges. Labor Unions Become Powerful in the 1840’s. Centralization of Labor Power Renders Them Vulnerable to Corruption. Bribes to Labor Leaders. Rigging Elections. Abolition of Slavery Harmonious With Large Factory Owners in the North. Transformation of the Government in the 1880’s. Robber Barons Seize Direct Control of the Senate, Push Out Their Middlemen. U.S. Senate Known As the “Millionaires’ Club.” Seventeenth Amendment Requires Popular Vote of Senators, Passed in 1913. Some Corruption Rooted Out of the Senate. President of Sugar Trust Testifies to Congress: We Finance Both Parties. Republicans & Democrats Were Always Bought and Paid For. Presidential Campaign Donations in 1920: $10,000,000.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter II: A Necessary Contrast, continued. The Middle Class Succeeds In Passing Anti-Trust Laws to Protect Their Businesses. The Magnates Battle the Middle Class and The Unions. The Army’s of Unemployed. Trust Busting Totally Harmless. The Use of Private Militia and Detectives To Suppress Demonstrations & Protests. Sheriffs Deputize Agents In The Employ of Capitalists To Break Strikes. More Than 120,500,000 Acres Given Away To Railroads By 1883. Farmers Forced to Buy Land From Railroad Companies. Mortgages On Farms, Equipment, and the Eventual Foreclosures. Commodities Trading Manipulations. Great Land Frauds In California. Land Fraud In Colorado. Agricultural & Timber Lands Surveyed As “Desert” Land. The Complete Domination of Land Offices in Every State.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter II: A Necessary Contrast, continued. The Numerous Reports of Fraud From the Land Office Commissioner, Sparks. Foreign Corporations Gobble Up Red-Wood Land In California. Surveying Fraud, Land Pre-Emption, and Homesteader Cutouts. Incorruptible Public Officials Removed From Office. Huge Land Frauds From Mexican Patents. 8.5 Million Acres of Fraudulent Mexican Land Grants in New Mexico Alone. Stephen B. Elkins Makes an Appearance. Investigation By U.S. Surveyor General Uncovers Blatant Forgery. “Foreigners of Large Means” Gobble Up Texas Land. Two British Syndicates Hold 7.5 Million Acres of Texas Land. Land-Grabbing an Election Issue in 1880. Almost All Farming Land In Private Ownership According to Gov’t Report in 1930. Railroad Corporations the Single Largest Holders of Land in 1928. The Serf Nation: 50% of American Farms Operated By Tenants in 1916. American Feudalism Is Back Baby!
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter III: The Beginnings of the Vanderbilt Fortune. Vanderbilt’s Monumental Fortune of $105,000,000. Most of His Wealth Amassed in His Last 15 Years. Wealth as Power. The Dynasty’s Holdings at the Turn of the 20th Century: $600M in Stocks & $700M in Bonds. Their Interests in Banks, Railroad, and Corporations. The American Industrialists as Monarchs. Kings Had No Proof of Divine Right, But Industrial Monarchs Have Stocks and Bonds. Armed Garrisons Not Required to Secure the Possessions in Their Vast Empires. Government As the Armed Forces of Big Business. The Vanderbilt Patriarch: Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. His Humble Beginnings in the Sailing Trade. He enter the Steamboat Business in 1829. Cutting Rates to Bankrupt Competitors. Public Applauds His Rate Cuts As Great Benefit. Rates Hiked Once Monopoly Is Obtained. His Methods in Driving Out Competitors: Bribing the New York Common Council.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter III: The Beginnings of the Vanderbilt Fortune, continued. Vanderbilt the Foremost Pirate and Blackmailer of His Day. His Exploitation of the Government’s Steamship Mail Subsidies. Millions Made From Corrupting Postal Officials. Government Funds Pay For Building of Entire Commercial Fleets. E. K. Collins & Co. Line’s Enormous $1 Million Per Year Subsidies. Postal System $5,000,000 In Debt By 1858. Vanderbilt & Collins in Congressional Bribing War. Indications That Their Competition Was a Facade. Allegations Surface On Secret Agreement Over California Mail Subsidies. Vanderbilt’s Huge Pay-Off: $56,000 Per Month of Tax-Payer Money, to Not Compete In California. Congressional Testimony Blows The Lid Off Vanderbilt’s Blackmail Scam During the Covode Committee. Vanderbilt Never Arrested or Charged. He Retires From the Steamship Business in the 1860’s; His Millions In Blackmail Funds Intact.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter IV: The Onrush of the Vanderbilt Fortune. The Civil War Disrupts Marine Commerce. Steamship Lines Try to Dispose of Their Fleets. The Terrible Condition of These Vessels. Worthless Ships Pawned Off On the Navy Department For a Profit. Indiscriminate Plunder of the Soldiers During the War. Faulty Weapons Maim and Kill the Soldiers They Are Issued To. Spoiled Rations Sold to the Army. Military Contractors Kill a Great Number of the Soldiers With Their Supplies. The Patriotism of the Great Magnates, So-Called. The Draft Act Amended to Let Great Capitalists Escape the Battlefields. The Purchasing of “Substitutes” to Take the Rich Man’s Place on the Field of Combat. Vanderbilt the Glorious “Patriot.” Vanderbilt Selected By Secretary of War Stanton, to Assist Government With Purchasing Worthless Ships. Vanderbilt Grossly Overpays for the Ships if the Sellers Surrender a 10% Fee. No Precautions Taken to Safeguard the Lives of Union Soldiers. Vanderbilt Directly Responsible for Putting Hundreds of Soldiers Lives In Peril.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter IV: The Onrush of the Vanderbilt Fortune, continued. No Criminal Charges for Vanderbilt. Congress Pathetically Offers Up a Resolution Censuring Him and Others. Vanderbilt Exerts Political Influence to Have His Name Removed From the Resolution. Vanderbilt Expunged, His Agent Southard Takes the Fall. New Unbelievable Lows of Fraud: Afflicted Horses “Doctored Up” and Sold to the Cavalry. Vanderbilt Begins Buying Stock in the New York and Harlem Railroad. New York and Harlem Franchise Obtained Through Bribery. The Atrocious Safety Records of the Railroads. Corporations Not Responsible for Loss of Life: Transportation Accidents as a Means to Drive Down Stock Prices. Vanderbilt Bribes the Common Council for a Perpetual Franchise. George Law and Vanderbilt’s Bribery Battle for Control of the Broadway Line. Law Bribes the State Legislature, Vanderbilt Bribes the Common Council. The City Aldermen Hatch a Scheme to Fleece Vanderbilt. They Give Vanderbilt a Franchise That Will Not Pass Legal Scrutiny. The Aldermen Secretly Short the New York and Harlem Stock. The Outcome of This Plot. He Grasps Up a Second Railroad: The New York and Hudson Line. He Attempts to Consolidate the Two Railroads Through Legislative Act. Another Plot Against Vanderbilt. His Acquisition of the New York Central Railroad. The Public Suffers So Stock Prices Can Be Depressed. Vanderbilt Outmatches Cunard, Astor, Steward and Others.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter V: The Vanderbilt Fortune Increases Manifold. Vanderbilt’s Assault on the Erie Railroad. Sordid History of Corruption Surrounding the Erie. Vanderbilt Wrests Control of the Erie From Daniel Drew in 1866. Drew Kept on the Board of Directors. Drew Brings James Fisk, Jr. and Jay Gould on the Board. The Veteran Vanderbilt Outmaneuvered by Gould. Bags of Money Handed Out at the State Legislatures. The Consolidation of the New York Central and Hudson River Companies. Financial Fraud at the New York Central Used to Evade Laws Limiting Stock Dividends. The Middle Class Fights Combination to Protect Their Own Interests. The Irony of the Middle Class Lobbying Bought Lawmakers. Examples of the Rampant Bribery of Government Officials. Vanderbilt’s Massive Score in 1869: One Act Bribed Through Grants Right of Consolidation, Expansion of Franchises, and Millions in Watered Stock. The Hepburn Committee Confirms: $44,000,000 Looted By Vanderbilt. A Well Oiled Machine: Vanderbilt Scoops in the Canada Southern and Michigan Central Lines. The Real Motives of the Middle Class. Fraud Permeates the Entire American Economic System. Buyer Beware: The Selling of Tainted Food and Medicine Becomes “Universal” in America. Small Shopkeepers Guilty of Short-Weighing Goods. Why the FDA and SEC Came Into Existence. Sharp Discriminations in the Law Linger.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter V: The Vanderbilt Fortune Increases Manifold, continued. The Wisdom of Grand Larceny: the Greater the Theft, the Less Likely You Are to Go to Prison. Money As the God of Society. Harsh Discrimination’s in American Law. Vanderbilt’s Constant Purchase of Laws. His Immense Stretch: 1,300 Miles of Road From Buffalo to Chicago. His Whitewashed Legacy: Vanderbilt as the Great Improver and Renovator of Railroad Lines. How the Public Paid for Improvements to the Railroad Lines. A Poignant Example: The Sinking of Above-Ground Tracks on Park Avenue. How Accidents at Railroad Crossings Can Drive Down Real-Estate Value. The City Closes Off Large Stretch of Park Avenue for Railroad Construction. Vanderbilt Gobbles Up Property on Park Avenue. The Corrupt Tweed Regime and Tammany Hall Driven Out of Power. A “Reform” Administration Elected. The Real History of “Reform” Politics. Vanderbilt’s Vast Gifts From the “Reform” Legislatures. The Correlation Between Record Low Wages and Record High Wall Street Profits. Chauncey M. Depew: Vanderbilt’s Chief of Staff. Vanderbilt Buys Depew a Seat in the U.S. Senate. Repression of Workers. The Liberal Bastion of Massachusetts Exposed. American Sweatshops Circa the 1900’s. Sermonizing the “Best Classes”: How The Rich and Their Tools Propagandize Workers By Promising to Uplift Them Into the Middle Class. Honesty and Industry Scrutinized: The Borden Millions.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter VI: The Entailing of the Vanderbilt Fortune. Vanderbilt’s Parsimonious Habits. The Nature of His “Friends,” So-Called. His Wife and Sons. Why William H. Vanderbilt Spent Most of His Life as a Modest Farmer. The Entailment of the Massive Fortune: $90 Millions to the Chief Heir. The Rise of Standard Oil, America’s First Trust. William Vanderbilt’s Prophetic Testimony to the Hepburn Committee. The Great Strike of 1877. The B&O Railroad and False Flags. Congressional Investigations Are Designed to Obfuscate and Let Everybody Off the Hook. Vanderbilt Divests Himself of Railroad Stock and Buys Gov’t Bonds.
– Continued reading of History of Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers. Includes Part III, Chapter VI: The Entailing of the Vanderbilt Fortune, continued. Bankrupting the West Shore Railroad. William Vanderbilt Intrudes on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Territory. He Builds the Competing South Pennsylvania Railroad Line. Looting Before the Railway is Completed: $30 Million in Securities Fraud Through His Railroad Construction Company. Vanderbilt’s Secret “Gentleman’s Agreement” with the Reading Railroad. Pennsylvania Railroad Proves too Powerful. J.P. Morgan Steps in to Dump the South Pennsylvania Line, Screwing the Reading Railroad. His Accomplices: Morgan, Rockefeller, Mills, Elkins, and Whitney. William Builds an Opulent Mansion. Vanderbilt as a Great Patron of the Arts. “THE PUBLIC BE DAMNED.” He Gathers in $100 Million In Just Seven Years. William Passes Away in 1885. Massive Scope of His Tax Evasion Revealed.