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Cotton CapitalistsAmerican Jewish Entrepreneurship in the Reconstruction Era$
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Michael R. Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479879700

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479879700.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Networks from Above

Networks from Above

(p.124) 4 Networks from Above
Cotton Capitalists

Michael R. Cohen

NYU Press

The fourth chapter analyzes the top tier of an ethnic network that brought credit from global financiers to the merchants and farmers of the Gulf South. Through the lens of Lehman Brothers, this chapter explores how networks carried global investment to the Gulf South. This occurred in an era where business transactions were based on trust, which was often fostered by shared ethnicity—largely confining Jewish and non-Jewish networks to separate spheres. Lehman Brothers, for example, worked closely with Jewish-owned banking houses such as Lazard Frères, J. W. Seligman & Co., and Kuhn, Loeb & Co., in much the same way that Anglo-American banks such as J. P. Morgan & Co. cultivated networks with other non-Jewish businesses. Utilizing these ethnic networks, Lehman Brothers brought international investment to America, and continuing to rely on ethnicity to build trust, the firm loaned money to scores of cotton businesses in the Gulf South, many of which were also operated by Jews. With access to this credit via ethnic networks, these businesses could survive downturns in the economy and thrive in the postbellum milieu.

Keywords:   cotton, merchants, Jewish, Lehman Brothers, credit, global, postbellum

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