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Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865

Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865

Mark W. Geiger
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865
    Book Description:

    This highly original work explores a previously unknown financial conspiracy at the start of the American Civil War. The book explains the reasons for the puzzling intensity of Missouri's guerrilla conflict, and for the state's anomalous experience in Reconstruction. In the broader history of the war, the book reveals for the first time the nature of military mobilization in the antebellum United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15152-7
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Appendixes
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    This book describes a previously unknown financial conspiracy that occurred in Missouri at the beginning of the Civil War. In 1861, a small group of prosecession politicians, bankers, and wealthy men conspired to divert money from Missouri’s banks to arm and equip rebel military units then forming throughout the state. The scheme backfired and caused widespread indebtedness among Missouri’s planters and their extended families, ending their decades-long domination of the state’s economic and political life. The chain of events set off by the failed conspiracy was unique to Missouri, but the records of it give a detailed picture of military...

  6. 1 Financial Conspiracy
    (pp. 8-22)

    On November 7, 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected sixteenth president of the United States, he faced a serious legitimacy problem. Lincoln was the first president belonging to the six-year-old Republican Party, and he had won election with only 40 percent of the popular vote and without carrying a single southern state. Three days after Lincoln’s election, the South Carolina legislature called a special convention to consider the state’s relations with the federal Union. On December 20, the convention voted unanimously to dissolve South Carolina’s union with the United States of America. Over the next five months ten more southern...

  7. 2 New Banks
    (pp. 23-39)

    Missouri’s branch banks, which played a critical role in financing the secession movement in Missouri, were with few exceptions of recent origin when the war started. Until the law changed in 1857, Missouri’s constitution of 1820 allowed only one currency-issuing bank in the state, with a maximum of six branches, counting the parent bank. Since its establishment in 1837, that bank had been the Bank of Missouri. Between 1857 and the end of 1860 the number of chartered banks in the state, counting parents and branches, increased sevenfold. By January 1861, Missouri had nine currency-issuing banks with thirty-three external branches....

  8. 3 New Bankers
    (pp. 40-54)

    The events recounted in this history hinge on actions taken by the branch bankers in 1861 and 1862. In many ways, this book is their story. After the overthrow of the Jackson government in June 1861, Union troops kept a tight grip on St. Louis, and the bankers there had no room to maneuver. Union control over the countryside was much weaker, and it was only intermittent in much of the state until the end of the war. Unlike the St. Louis bankers, the branch bankers could act on their politics. If Governor Jackson’s original financing plan had succeeded, or...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. 55-64)
  10. 4 Insider Lending
    (pp. 65-82)

    After the clampdown on the St. Louis bankers, southern fundraising experienced a leadership vacuum that was filled by local initiatives. Despite their military reverses, Missouri’s southern men were in some ways better organized than the Unionists, and early on they gained control of most of the banks’ money. Missouri’s southerners were the earliest permanent white settlers in the state, and the longest established in the Boonslick. Among them were many of each community’s richest men—planters, bankers, and leading merchants, men of mature years and long residence. Such men had many personal and commercial connections, and many of them did...

  11. 5 The Unionists Regain Control
    (pp. 83-99)

    In early 1861, Missouri’s secessionist elected government was the state’s public face. Nevertheless, in the gubernatorial and national elections of 1860 and in the election to Missouri’s special convention of 1861, Unionist candidates received over 75 percent of the vote. During the war, the numbers of Missourians in military service on the two sides presented a more mixed picture of white political sentiment. About thirty thousand Missourians served in the southern forces, plus an unknown number of guerrillas, compared with over a hundred thousand Missourians in the Union army, but this number included about thirtynine thousand African American soldiers. Another...

  12. 6 Guerrillas
    (pp. 100-114)

    After the collapse of Governor Jackson’s plans, only force of arms would achieve Missouri’s secession. But this was never even remotely possible. Southern forces never regained the advantage in Missouri after the Battle of Lexington in September 1861. In the end democratic politics, political skullduggery, and military force all failed to take Missouri out of the Union. Still, the conventional war lasted another three years in Missouri, before Confederate forces were decisively defeated at the Battle of Westport in 1864. The guerrilla violence, however, kept right on going.¹

    By most measures, the Confederate guerrilla insurgency in Missouri during the Civil...

  13. Illustrations
    (pp. 115-121)
  14. 7 The Transformation of Regional Identity
    (pp. 122-138)

    Most historians now agree that in the South as a whole, planters suffered heavy losses of slaves and other personal property during the war and Reconstruction but preserved most of their real property. The legacy of the war in the South—hyperinflation and debt repudiation—was a disaster for southern creditors, including banks, but left former debtors whole. Southern planters remained the largest landowners in their home counties, even though everyone was poorer than before the war. From this foundation of economic leadership, the antebellum elite regained political control after Reconstruction. In Missouri, because of the forced land sales, planters...

  15. 8 War and the Administrative State
    (pp. 139-150)

    Pro-Confederate Missourians were not the only private citizens paying to arm their young men in 1861. North and South, people everywhere were doing the same, in effect loaning money to their state governments to go to war. Most histories of Civil War procurement and supply begin with actions taken by state governments to raise troops after the fall of Fort Sumter in April 1861. But there was a prehistory to that phase of mobilization. In the earliest period, troops were equipped at the end of a chain of buck-passing. The United States and Confederate States presidents called for troops, and...

  16. Appendix 1: Research Design and Methodology
    (pp. 151-220)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 221-264)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-294)
  19. Index
    (pp. 295-306)