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Frenzied finance

Bart (Charles Lewis Bartholomew, 1869-1949)
Frenzied Finance
Published in 1904 in the Minneapolis Journal

Thomas Lawson was a financier who is known both for his efforts to reform stock market reforms and the fortune he earned by playing the  market with dubious practices. In 1904, he wrote the book Frenzied Finance: The Story of Amalgamated, an expose which describes how financiers finagled the purchase of Amalgamated Copper and manipulated the price of its stocks. The scheme was headed by Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller of Standard Oil Company along with National City Bank, some lawyers, and associates.

The New York Times also reported on the scheme, and on December 13, 1904 it reported that the price of stocks had closed at a low point on a flood of “Lawson-grams,” telegrams that were spreading financial rumors about blue chip stocks. Every time the market began to rally, Lawson and his associates would send out telegrams about suspicious behaviors in the financial realm. Their intent was to create a bear market and reduce the wealth of financiers.

In this cartoon, Bart depicts Lawson as a Wild West gunslinger, policing the financial practices of major American industrialists by revealing their methods.