The Armor-plate Scandal

When the government manipulated and misused the robber barons

Economists from Adam Smith on have written about the evils and dislocations that monopolies bring to an economy. What has been much less written about over the years, however, are the evils of monopsony.

In the interest of saving wear and tear on three hundred thousand dictionaries, let me hasten to offer a definition. A monopoly is any entity that effectively controls the supply of a commodity. A monopsony, on the other hand, controls the total demand for a commodity. Read more »

The Other Great Depression

In 1937 the American economy, which had been slowly rising from the depths it had reached in 1933, suddenly reversed course and sank once more. While this new economic trend enlarged the misery of the American people, it also gave the economists a new problem: what to call it. Read more »

Sexual Complications of the Presidential Kind

Did you know that John Quincy Adams pimped for the czar Alexander I of Russia while he was serving as the American minister in St. Petersburg? Some journalists claimed to know that fact during the notably scurrilous campaign of 1824. But historians have tended to remember the even more foul allegations brought against Andrew Jackson by an unscrupulous journalist, Charles Hammond, since there was a kernel of truth in the stream of filth directed at Jackson.

1886 One Hundred Years Ago

On June 2 the first and last presidential wedding took place in the White House: President Grover Cleveland, a rotund forty-nine-year-old bachelor, married the statuesque Frances Folsom, twenty-three. Cleveland had known Frances since her infancy, when he had helped her parents purchase her baby carriage. She was the daughter of Cleveland’s former law partner, and upon her father’s death, when she was twelve, Cleveland effectively became her guardian.Read more »

The Dirtiest Election

Grover Cleveland had seduced a widow; James G. Blaine had peddled influence lied about it. In 1884, voters had to choose between two tarnished champions

The first volleys in America’s “vilest” presidential campaign were fired on July 21, 1884, when a small Buffalo paper exposed a shocking personal scandal involving ihe Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, then governor of New York. Cleveland, big, slow-moving, forthright, “foursquare,” had become a popular image of decency and public honesty; he had been elected on a reform ticket by a 200,000 majority over an entrenched Republican machine, and he was expected to cleanse New York of corruption.

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When The President Disappeared

While panic gripped the nation in 1893, Grover Cleveland suffered his own secret ordeal on a yacht in Long Island Sound.

When Charles Francis Adams called what happened to the United States in 1893 its “most deep-seated financial storm,” his metaphor was weak. More than a storm, it was a major earthquake, a violent onset of national growing pains which upheaved the young country’s financial crust and shook the whole continental economy along major fault lines.

Dr. Keen Makes Another Appearance

Physician treated Cleveland, F.D.R.

Twenty-eight years later, at the age of 84, the surgeon who helped save President Cleveland appeared again at an important medical moment in the annals of the presidency, although he could not have known it at the time. In August, 1921, while vacationing nearby, Dr. William W. Keen was summoned to Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, as a consultant in diagnosing Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had, apparently, caught cold after extensive sailing, running, and swimming in the frigid Bay of Fundy.Read more »