Kindred’s Special: My Financial Interest in America–A chessplayer’s perspective Part 3

THE DARK AGE OF AMERICA came after the United States was well heeled as a Nation. Its existence really started during the Colonial Period when wealthy colonists set up a system of  indentured servitude of new arrivals where such immigrants had to work off their debt of passage.  In a sense it was a type of slavery until the debt was paid in full.  Another problem was that one of the southern colonies best and needed crops was cotton and the extreme hot weather conditions made it difficult for the white population whereas the darkies or negro population that grew largely out of the kidnapping slave trade of Africa that provided wealth for mostly northern ship owners who sold the slaves who were fortunate enough to survive the long journey to southern landowners to work on their plantations, and later others to work around New Orleans on the docks. In a real sense it was the ability of the so called darkies to withstand such heat and rural condtions. Contrary to public opinion, the American Negro population contributed to the inherent strength of America from its early beginnings. An experiment by Jefferson to see if they could thrive on their own in America was unsuccessful and determined that for most at the current time would be a disaster for them.  It was many years before the American Negro became recognized for their talents and many contributed during this dark period in American history. Many achieved heroic deeds in the many wars the Nation was engaged in its rather short history. Jesse Owens conquored the imagination and respect of Americans during his triumph in Germany’s hosting of the Olympics  and singlehandedly almost gave Adolph Hitler a stroke. Today they are among the top athletes in many sports and have managed through hard work to gain prominance in business, education, legal and medical fields.

What makes it so hard for people today to realize is the long and regrettable failure to recognize the right of all to embrace and enjoy the fruits of American life. The same holds true of the plight of the Native Americans who continue to wallow in the miseries of clinging to the past, dreams of their forefathers, and while many young people are achieving success, they have a long way to go.

This update to current times I feel is necessary so as to go back now and see the conditions that need-not-have-been.  Our failure in this respect is a national disgrace. It is not simply a problem of the negro population but anyone who differed in any number of ways from the so-called NORM. Much had to do with the lack of education of minority groups. Another was the clanish behavior of such groups as the Italians, Poles, Germans, Dutch, Irish, Russians, Orientals, etc. etc. Many arriving in America tended to band together in their ethnic similarities creating pockets of neighborhoods. In some ways this was wonderful as it greatly enriched American life. Through many trials and tribulations, the peoples of America found and continue to work toward ever improving conditions built on understanding and respect. Unfortunately, this was not always true.

With the advent of the Civil War brought about by the western states approach to the slave issue, the north and south struggle with economic leverage and power, and the election of Abe Lincoln to the presidency created for many years the Dark Age of America. Following the war in which many thousands of whites and blacks were slain or wounded in combat, the startup of the giant industrial base, especially the railroad magnets, such prestine areas as beautiful Appalachia with its rich waterfalls and systems of unique spa resorts was ravaged by greed and ignorance. Its rich farmlands destroyed. The outlaw Jesse James and his gang may not have ever come into being had it not been for the corruption seen following the war.

Commercial banking all through these years conducted business with a conservative hand at the helm in most cases. The Nation existed on the importance of the individual, the family,  heritage. With the migration westward, the Native Americans saw their lands being swept up from a government that sought to annex everything for adventuring settlers who braved to risks of conflict with “savages”. In fact it was a repeat of history only now it was the American Indian who was misunderstood by this vast migration. The government couldn’t grasp the idea that the Indians were not interested by and large to similate and fought to keep their own distinct character so it resorted to conquor by force, lies and corruption by those in govenment employ and agency that dealt with Indian concerns. Yes, history repeats through ignorance and corruption led by greed.

State bank regulations lagged while the number of such banks increased dramatically. 1885 saw 10-states authorizing regular examinations and 9 of those had provided for supervisory officials or boards. From 1886 to 1900, 21 additional states made regular bank examination mandatory. By 1914, all the states required regular examinations but not until 1931 did they create official supervisory authorities. But these were usually political appointments having little or no experience in commercial banking practices or in finance in general. Low wages for bank examiners led to a rapid turnover of personnel.

The national banking system was much different and better organized. Even so, it became clear that much had to advance in the regulatory function to maintain bank security and public support. Woodrow Wilson was the founder of the Federal Reserve System. The main question was whether The Controller of the Currency influence would be retained. It was recognized that the largest loss from bank failures came in the agricultural states while the east and west continued to see relative stability throughout the system of both state and national banks. It was troubling that the growth of state banks left national banks in the dust as to growth.

The 1929 stockmarket crash spelled disaster as many financial institutions felled victim to the mass histeria of sell, sell, and runs on banks to draw out deposits did not help. It was an era of suffering often a product of dust bowls and no jobs as business came to a standstill. It was an era of the hobo, the transient, the downtroddened and hopelessness felt throughout the country. It was indeed THE DARK AGE.  What and who would turn the tide?

In the chessworld there has been many trials and tribulations for the both the art of chess, its champions and devotees. The financial rewards has had a rocky road for hundreds of years. Botvinnik for example received a new car when he won the world championship. Fischer came along and those who followed discovered to fruits of how to turn the world championship into a gold mine with the right energies, contacts, and  a  financial support system.

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