Wilbur Burton Foshay: The Saga of a Salesman
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McNulty, Marcy Frances
History has been defined as the story of man's past actions based on the evidence that has survived. A study of this surviving evidence reveals that no man lives in a vacuum separated from other men nor does a man live untouched by those economic, political, social or religious threads which weave together the society of which he is a product. These threads traced separately show the strength of each of these factors as they affect the action of a particular man. It is precisely the predominance of one factor over the others which produces in a society various epochs, eras or periods, during which man's actions become influenced by this temporarily dominant thread. | An era in which economic factors weighed heaviest can be found in the history of the United States from the turn of the twentieth century through the Great Depression years of the '30's. During this period economic factors came to affect society through the role of the American businessman. It was he who became associated with industry organized by corporations or, more complexly, in holding company structures. The American corporate executive dealt in several areas; among them was the newly organized public utility industry. Executives of this business were able to amass capital for its growth partly because of the new and increased speculation on the stock market by American wage earners. The pattern of investment and corporate expansion reached its peak during the "Roaring '20's" and came to a screeching halt with the famous Black Friday of October, 1929, when the economic bubble of unprecedented prosperity burst. It was only in the grim, dark days of America's Depression that the corporate executive without capital, the investor without dividends and the banker without deposits came to examine the period through which they had passed. Since then, many a millionaire of the '20's who fell as a ruined titan of the '30's has died and been forgotten. And yet, when the student of history pieces together the story of one of these men, his enduring significance often becomes evident.
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