1032 The Journal of American History March 2018 Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of Wealth and on far-flung investments. As citizens, they op - Populism in America’s First Gilded Age. By posed taxes on personal property and fought Noam Maggor. (Cambridge: Harvard U - ni the annexation by Boston of the leafy, lightly versity Press, 2017. xiv, 284 pp. $39.95.) taxed, suburbs in which several of them lived. Brahmin Capitalism questions the time- Noam Maggor’sB rahmin Capitalism is a dis - honored distinction between long-term -invest tinguished contribution to a small but g - row ment and short-term speculation. Yet the - evi ing library of revisionist monographs on U.S. dence Maggor presents makes it plain that the financial history that probes the prehistory time horizons of the Boston investors meshed of the 2008 financial crisis. Maggor’s theme well with the priorities of career managers in - is the “understated” entrepreneurialism of a tent on limiting the role of investors in eco - small yet inu fl ential cohort of late nineteenth- nomic development. None of his protagonists century investors—a purposeful group that risked being confused with Jay Gould or Rich - included Charles Francis Adams, Jr., Thomas ard White’s railroad tycoons. Investors were Jefferson Coolidge, Henry Lee Higginson, key figures in market expansion, though— Henry A. Wells, Nathan Matthews, Jr., and as Alfred D. Chandler Jr., Olivier Zunz and Henry Davis Minot—all of whom were based many others have demonstrated—they had in Boston and its environs (p. 99). Rather many allies, including, in some instances, the than being hidebound traditionalists, a - s ear populists who Maggor hails as their foes. F - ur lier historians often assumed, the “Brahmin ther questions are raised by Maggor’s account capitalists” helped forge a “new industrial of municipal politics. Even in Boston, the ide - political economy organized around an i - nter ological contours of post-1900 municipal poli - connected domestic market” (p. xi). For M - ag tics remained expansive: municipal socialism, gor, as for many recent historians of A - meri Daniel T. Rodgers reminds us, lay in the - fu can capitalism, this project was emphatically ture. Brahmin Capitalism, in short, leaves read - a political one in which a group of “strategic ers with many questions to explore. And this is actors” deliberately built a set of institutional all to the good. Engagingly written, capably r - e arrangements that they then hailed as the searched, and intelligently argued, it provides natural by-product of inexorable tech-nologi a window on the character and significance of cal imperatives and economic incentives that high finance not only in the past but also to - no one could alter or control (p. xii). day. To make his case, Maggor juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated “subnational” phenome - Richard R. John na: municipal politics in Boston and the polit - Columbia University ical debates over economic policy in the trans- New York, New York Mississippi West. Individual chapters explore doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax480 the vicissitudes of the pre–Civil War New E - ng land cotton textile industry, which prompted The Age of Charisma: Leaders, Followers, and investors to shift assets to the West; the hostil - Emotions in American Society, 1870–1940. ity of certain elite Bostonians to metropolitan By Jeremy C. Young. (New York: Cambridge industrialization; the establishment by Boston University Press, 2017. xxiv, 331 pp. $49.99.) investors of the Kansas City Stockyards and the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company; the Jeremy C. Young maintains that Americans failure of Boston mechanics to obtain official were thoroughly acquainted with th-e con permission to set up a semipermanent exhibi - cept of “charismatic leadership” long before tion on the Common; the “grassroots” chal - the German sociologist Max Weber coined lenge western populists posed to the investors’ business strategy; and the political logic of the the term in the 1920s. During the late -nine teenth century a new genre of public speakers merger movement of the 1890s. emerged to stir up mass meetings called for Maggor’s protagonists championed cosmo - politanism at work and localism at home. As religious, political, or other purposes. Perhaps investors, they tried to maximize their return William Jennings Bryan comes most readily Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1032/4932657 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
The Journal of American History – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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