A Lion In The Street

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The Panic of 1907, although it was followed by a brief industrial depression, had many salutary results. More than anything else it was responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve System and for the stiffening of regulations controlling trust companies. Centralized control of finance, long overdue in rapidly industrializing America, could be achieved only after the weaknesses of the old system had been so effectively demonstrated. In the crisis, Morgan, as Congressman Bartlett suggested in 1911, had indeed “controlled and dominated the situation.” But as Perkins said at that time, he did so not through his financial power, great as it admittedly was, but through the force of his personality, through his courage, determination, and skill. J. P. Morgan was no saint. He took his 6 per cent along the way. But while others cringed before the force of the storm, he braved its wildest winds and piloted the financial community to safe harbor.