UnitedLife 02

Man who changed the world: J. P. Morgan


   John Pierpont Morgan was an American financier, banker, philanthropist and art collector. His most significant contribution was the accumulation of financial resources to build a railway network across the USA during the Panic of 1907. USAs huge national debt had been repaid with his financial support and he co-founded US Steel. He funded the famous inventor Nicola Tesla and served for many years as curator of Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum acquired the most spectacular collections because Morgan lifted tariffs on artwork. He attracted the attention of higher class to art investment and that made JP Morgan more than just a financier.

   J. P. Morgan, nicknamed Pierpont was born April 17, 1837 in Hartford, Connecticut where he spent most days of his childhood. He graduated from English High School of Boston, a school specializing in mathematics to prepare young men for careers in commerce.

   A year later he was forced to leave because of a rheumatic fever leaving him in so much pain that he couldn’t walk. After convalescing for a year, Pierpont returned to the English High School in Boston to resume his studies and graduated. His father actively supported his education and preparation for a future career and he sent JP for studies to Switzerland where he had attained fluency in French, and continued to study at a university of Gottingen in order to improve his German.

   Things took their natural path when the young son of banker and partner in a merchant banking firm started his career in banking with his father. He held positions in various companies in the same area and at his father’s request Anthony J. Drexel became his mentor, business partner and cofounder of a private banking firm Drexel, Morgan & Company.

   morgan3After the death of Anthony Drexel, the firm was rechristened „J. P. Morgan & Company“ in 1895 and became one of the most powerful and leading banking houses in the world, offering a helping hand to the US government during the 1895 crisis and the Panic of 1907.
Business structure reorganization and management set to maximize profitability known as „morganization“ belonged to Morgan’s main goals and his reputation as a banker allured many investors. Adolph Ochs secured financing from Morgan to purchase New York Times, turning it into one of world’s most famous newspaper.

   The next goal was to buy out Carnegie’s steel business and merge it with several other firms from the industry to create United States Steel Corporation. In 1901 he founded U.S. Steel as the first billion-dollar company in the world that was comparable in size to largest railroads. The company aimed to reduce costs, expand product lines and improve distribution. It soon became a monopoly as the business was attempting to dominate not only steel but also the construction of bridges, ships and railroads. Its position in the market was so solid it was nearly impossible to compete with and the company became world’s largest steel producer.

   Such a success didn’t go unnoticed and the government filed antitrust charges in 1911, a year later Morgan and his partners testified before a committee that ultimately concluded that a small number of financial leaders was exercising considerable control over many industries.

   Morgan was an avid yachtsman in his personal life and he entered in several American yacht races. He was a passionate art collector and the creator of world’s most significant art collections of his time. His first wife Amelia Sturges died only a couple of months after their wedding. He raised four children with his second wife Frances Tracy.

   J. P. Morgan died in his sleep while traveling abroad on April, 30, 1913, just shy of his 76th birthday at the Grand Hotel in Rome, Italy. Flags on Wall Street flew at half-staff; the stock market closed for two hours when his body passed through. His younger son J.P.Morgan inherited his business. J.P.Morgan senior is today considered master of finances and one of the leading American businessmen who formed the nation into what it is today.

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