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By Geoffrey C. Ward

Ferdinand Ward was once the best swindler of the Gilded Age. via his unapologetic villainy, he bankrupted Ulysses S. provide and ran roughshod over the whole global of finance. Now, his compelling, behind-the-scenes tale is told—told by way of his great-grandson, award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward.

Ward used to be the Bernie Madoff of his day, a intended genius at making vast cash quick on Wall highway who grew to become out to were working an immense pyramid scheme—one that finally collapsed in a single of the best monetary scandals in American heritage. The son of a Protestant missionary and small-town pastor with secrets and techniques of his personal to maintain, Ward got here to manhattan at twenty-one and in lower than a decade, armed with allure, power, and a complete loss of judgment of right and wrong, made himself the enterprise accomplice of the previous president of the us and was once greatly hailed because the “Young Napoleon of Finance.” honestly, he grew to become out to be a whole fraud, his complete lifestyles marked by way of dishonesty, cowardice, and contempt for whatever yet his personal interests.

Drawing from millions of relations records by no means ahead of tested, Geoffrey C. Ward lines his great-grandfather’s fast upward push to riches and status and his much more dizzying fall from grace. There are mistresses and mansions alongside the best way; quickly horses and crooked bankers and corrupt ny officers; court confrontations and 6 years in Sing Sing; and Ferdinand’s determined scheme to kidnap his personal son to get his palms at the property his past due spouse had left the boy. here's a nice tale a few vintage American con artist, instructed with boundless allure and dry wit by way of one among our best historians.

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Extra info for A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States

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They fell victim to a yellow fever epidemic, went to sea and never returned, or developed a chronic and fatal illness. It 10 chapter one was their children who lacked agency and accepted their fate, however unhappily. But that is in the nature of childhood, not of economic forces. And at an individual level, some of the poor acted heroically. Widows showed resilience in keeping their children for months and years after the death of their husbands, strangers took in children living rough, and distant relatives opened their doors, at least for a time, to widowed and orphaned kin.

In the absence of that brick wall, which at this point the commissioners were hoping to fund through a lottery, children escaped from the grounds for days at a time, injuring the reputation of the Orphan House and inconveniencing citizens. 20 This point speaks to a motivation for Charleston to establish its Orphan House: Extensive experience with captive populations led its leaders to believe they knew how to operate such an institution. 21 Commissioners, like white Charleston as a whole, took great pride in the fruits of their labor.

The best outcome for a young woman, in this view, occurred when she contacted the Orphan House to request a fifty-dollar dowry before her wedding. The Orphan House was a conservative institution. It sought to conserve a social order in which whites who hit hard times would not fall below a certain level. As a bonus, artisans and merchants who wanted to hire unskilled laborers could find a steady supply of same, and those who believed in noblesse oblige could care for younger children who truly had nowhere 12 chapter one else to go.

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