“So manifest were the advantages of the machine age, however, that the United States fearlessly, cheerfully and, I think, rightly accepted the bitter with the sweet. It was thought that no price was too high for the advantages which we could draw from a finished industrial system. The history of the last half-century is accordingly in large measure a history of financial titans, whose methods were not scrutinised with too much care and who were honoured in proportion as they produced the results, irrespective of the means they used.
The financiers who pushed the railways to the Pacific, for example, were always ruthless, often wasteful and frequently corrupt, but they did build railways and we have them to-day. It has been estimated that the American investor paid for the American railway system more than three times[Pg 24] over in the process, but despite this fact the net advantage was to the United States.”