Morgan, J. P. 1837–1913

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J. P. Morgan

Connecticut-born John Pierpont Morgan was educated in Germany and Switzerland and spent the Civil War years serving as his father's agent in London, where he specialized in arranging international loans linking European investors with American industrial enterprises. Upon his return to the United States he eventually formed the Morgan Bank. Morgan's greatest accomplishment was the combining of the Carnegie Steel Company with his Federal Steel Corporation to form the United States Steel Company in 1901. His specialty was the combining of railroads and industrial firms into larger and more efficient corporations. By the turn of the century he was acknowledged to be the preeminent American industrial financier.

In 1902 Morgan set about the task of forming a powerful ocean shipping trust to ensure smooth transfers of cargo between cooperating railroads and Trans Atlantic steamships. To this end he invited established shipping lines from Germany, France, and Britain to join with the American Line to form the International Mercantile Marine (IMM). Morgan hoped to gain control of enough tonnage to form a trust with interlocking directorates on both sides of the Atlantic. His goal was to eliminate cutthroat competition and ensure profitability for all participants. This plan was partially frustrated when the U.S. Congress refused to vote subsidies for U.S. steamship operators and several European lines refused to join the consortium. As a result the IMM never lived up to expectations, and only its White Star Line was consistently profitable. With the death of Morgan in 1913 and the coming of World War I, the IMM passed from the shipping scene.

SEE ALSO Banking; Cargoes, Freight; Cargoes, Passenger; Finance, Credit and Money Lending;Rates of Exchange;United States.


Chernow, Ron. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.

Flayhart, William H. The American Line, 1871–1902. New York: W. W. Norton, 2000.

Strouse, Jean. Morgan, American Financier. New York: Random House, 2000.

James E. Valle

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Morgan, J. P. 1837–1913

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