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The Rothschilds - A Jewish Family in the 19th Century
Finding Her Own Course between Assimilation and Preservation of Heitage


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Yoon, Seokho
Term Paper, AP European History Class, November 2008



Table of Contents


I. Introduction
II. Meyer Amschel Rothschild
II.1 Son of a Goldsmith
II.2 A Skilled Banker and the Beginning of a Dynasty
II.3 Reaching the Peak
II.4 Marriage and Family
III. Nathan Mayer Rothschild
III.1 The Early Days
III.2 Fortunes in London
III.3 Establishment of N.M. Rothschild & Sons
III.4 Marriage and Family
IV. Salomon Mayer Rothschild
IV.1 The Early Days
IV.2 The Beginnings and Success of S.M. von Rothschild
IV.3 A Decline in Vienna
IV.4 Post-Retirement
IV.5 Marriage and Family
V. James Mayer de Rothschild
V.1 Start of a Banking Empire
V.2 Culturally Dedicated Rothschild
V.3 Success as a Businessman
V.4 Family and Marriage
VI. Carl Mayer von Rothschild
VI.1 Establishment o C.M. von Rothschild & Figli
VI.2 Overcoming Expectations with Success
VI.3 Marriage and Family
VII. Conclusion
Bbliography



I. Introduction
            Since the late 18th century, the Rothschild family has become one of the greatest banking and finance dynasties of the world. The Rothschild family had great influence in European history and how the continent¡¯s economy worked. This paper will deal with the family in detail.

II. Meyer Amschel Rothschild

II.1 Son of a Goldsmith
            Mayer Amschel Bauer was born in Frankfurt-on-the-Main in Germany in 1743. He was the son of Moses Amschel Bauer an itinerant money lender and goldsmith who, tiring of his wanderings in Eastern Europe, decided to settle down in the city where his first son was born. He opened a shop, or counting house, on Judenstrasse (or Jew Street). Over the door leading into the shop he placed a large Red Shield.
            At a very early age Mayer Amschel Bauer showed that he possessed immense intellectual ability, and his father spent much of his time teaching him everything he could about the money lending business, and the lessons he had learned from many sources. The older Bauer originally hoped to have his son trained as a Rabbi but the father's untimely death put an end to such plans.

II.2 A Skilled Banker and the Beginning of a Dynasty
            A few years after his father's death Mayer Amschel Bauer went to work as a clerk in a bank owned by the Oppenheimers in Hannover. His superior ability was quickly recognized and his advancement within the firm was swift. Shortly thereafter he returned to Frankurt where he was able to purchase the business his father had established in 1750. The big Red Shield was still displayed over the door. Recognizing the true significance of the Red Shield which his father had adopted it as his emblem from the Red Flag which was the emblem of the revolutionary minded Jews in Eastern Europe, Mayer Amschel Bauer changed his name to Rothschild, which means 'Red Shield' in German; in this way the House of Rothschild came into being.

II.3 Reaching the Peak
            The base for a wide accumulation of wealth was set during the 1760s when Mayer Amschel Rothschild renewed his acquaintance with General von Estorff for whom he ran errands while employed at the Oppenheimer Bank.
            The General was close to Prince William and through his relation with the General; Rothschild was able to invite Prince William himself. His Highness bought a handful of his rarest medals and coins. This was the first transaction between a Rothschild and a head of state. Soon Rothschild was doing business with other princes. He wrote them letters that played on their princely vanity while asking them for their patronage. A typical letter would read :

            "It has been my particular high and good fortune to serve your lofty princely Serenity at various times and to your most gracious satisfaction. I stand ready to exert all my energies and my entire fortune to serve your lofty princely serenity whenever in future it shall please you to command me. An especially powerful incentive to this end would be given me if your lofty princely serenity were to distinguish me with an appointment as one of your Highness' Court Factors. I am making bold to beg for this with the more confidence in the assurance that by so doing I am not giving any trouble; while for my part such a distinction would lift up my commercial standing and be of help to me in many other ways that I feel certain thereby to make my own way and fortune here in the city of Frankfurt."

            His tactics paid off. On September 21, 1769, Rothschild was able to nail a sign bearing the arms of Hessen-Hanau to the front of his shop. In gold characters it read : "M. A. Rothschild, by appointment court factor to his serene highness, Prince William of Hanau."

II.4 Marriage and Family
            In 1770 Mayer Amschel Rothschild married Gutele Schnaper who was aged seventeen. They had a large family consisting of five sons and five daughters. Their sons were Amschel, Salomon, Nathan, Kalmann (Karl) and Jacob (James). Their daughters were Schonche Jeannette, Isabella, Babette, Julie, and Henriette.

III Nathan Mayer Rothschild

III.1 The Early Days
            In 1798, at the age of 21, he settled in Manchester and established a business in textile trading and finance. He later moved to London, England and made a fortune in trading bills of exchange in financial instruments such as foreign bills and government securities through a banking enterprise, beginning in 1805. From 1809 Nathan began to deal in gold bullion, and developed this as a cornerstone of his business.

III.2 Fortunes in London
            From January 1814, he undertook a lucrative British government contract to purchase large amounts of bullion in order to supply coin to pay Wellington's troops, on campaign in Europe against Napoleon, and to make subsidy payments to British allies. His four brothers helped co-ordinate activities across the continent, and the family developed a network of agents, shippers and couriers to transport gold - and information - across Europe.
            This private intelligence service enabled Nathan to receive in London the news of Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo a full day ahead of the government's official messengers. He made good use of the intelligence by buying stocks at an extremely low price since there were rumors that the British army was losing. In 1818, he arranged a ?5 million loan to the Prussian government and the issuing of bonds for government loans formed a mainstay of his bank¡¯s business. He gained a position of such power in the City of London that by 1825 he was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a liquidity crisis.

III.3 Establishment of N.M. Rothschild and Sons
            In 1835 he secured a contract with the Spanish Government giving him the rights to the Almaden mines in southern Spain, effectively gaining a European mercury monopoly. He set up his London business, N. M. Rothschild and Sons at New Court in St Swithin's Lane, City of London, where it trades today. He also purchased a country house at Gunnersbury Park near Acton in western London.

III.4 Marriage and Family
            On 22 October 1806 in London, he married Hannah Barent-Cohen,. Their children were Charlotte, Lionel Nathan, Anthony Nathan, Nathaniel, Hannah Mayer, Henry FitzRoy, Mayer Amschel, and Louise. Lionel Nation Rothschild was the first Jewish member of the Parliament, or House of Commons. He had a significant part in letting the British Government loan the money to Egypt for the Suez Canal.

IV. Salomon Mayer Rothschild

IV.1 The Early Days
            Salomon von Rothschild was the third child and second son of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. He was made a shareholder of the de Rothschild Freres bank when it was opened in Paris in 1817 by his brother James Mayer de Rothschild. Trained in finance and with years of experience, in 1820 Salomon Rothschild was sent to Austria to formalize the family's existing involvements in financing Austrian government projects.

IV.2 The Beginning and success of S M von Rothschild
            In Vienna, Salomon von Rothschild established S M von Rothschild. The business financed the Nordbahn rail transport network, Austria's first steam railway, plus funding various government undertakings where large amounts of capital had to be raised. He made connections amongst the country's aristocracy and its political elite through Prince Klemens Metternich and Friedrich von Gentz.
            Under the direction of Salomon von Rothschild, the Viennese bank was highly successful, playing an integral role in the development of the Austrian economy. Salomon von Rothschild's personal wealth was enormous and he acquired extensive properties and made investments in art and antiquities.

IV.3 A Decline in Vienna
            Despite the fact that he made substantial contributions to philanthropic causes, the concentration of vast wealth by the few members of the Austrian elite resulted in a growing civil unrest in the country. By the time of the revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas, anti-Rothschild sentiments were frequently being voiced and written about in broadsheets such as Ein offener Brief an Rothschild. With the fall of Metternich, Salomon von Rothschild lost some of his political clout and his bank a considerable amount of money. Under pressure, the 74-year-old handed over the reins of the bank to his son Anselm but it was not without rancor.

IV.4 Post-Retirement
            He left Vienna and retired in Paris where he died in 1855. From his collection some of the Objets d'Art from the Italian and French Renaissance together with 18th-century works were donated to the Louvre including two paintings by Carlo Dolci.

IV.5 Marriage and Family
            In 1800, he married Caroline Stern and had Anselm Salomon and Betty Salomon as their children. Endogamy was an essential part of the Rothschild family's strategy for future success in order to ensure that control of their businesses remained in family hands. Therefore, in 1824 Salomon Mayer Rothschild's daughter Betty married her uncle James Mayer de Rothschild, head of the Paris bank.

V. James Mayer de Rothschild

V.1. Start of a Banking Empire
            James de Rothschild was the fifth son and youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. He moved to Paris in 1811 and in 1817 expanded the family banking empire to the city, opening de Rothschild Freres. In 1822, James de Rothschild, along with his four brothers, was bestowed with the hereditary title of "Freiherr" (Baron) by Austria's Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor.
            Following the July Revolution of 1830 that saw Louis-Philippe come to power, James de Rothschild put together the loan package to stabilize the finances of the new government and a second loan in 1834. In gratitude for his services to the nation, King Louis-Philippe elevated him to a grand officer of the Legion of Honor.

V.2 Culturally Dedicated Rothschild
            James de Rothschild and his sophisticated Viennese wife were at the center of Parisian culture. The chef for their lavish receptions was Antonin Careme. They patronized major personalities in the arts including Gioacchino Rossini, Fr?d?ric Chopin, Honor? de Balzac, Eug?ne Delacroix, and Heinrich Heine. As an acknowledgment of the many years of patronage extended by Baron James and his wife Betty, in 1847 Chopin dedicated his Valse Op. 64, N¡Æ 2 in C sharp minor to their daughter Charlotte. In 1848, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted Betty de Rothschild's portrait.
            Beyond his business activities, he made the first significant acquisitions for what became the French family's massive art collections. His art included Vermeer's 1668 work The Astronomer which remained in the family until it became the property of the Louvre in the 1970s. He also used his enormous wealth for philanthropic works and became a leader of the French Jewish community. James's contributions to France, along with those of his offspring can be found in many fields, including medicine and the arts.
            In 1854, he commissioned the famous architect Joseph Paxton to build the Ch?teau de Ferri?res in Ferri?res-en-Brie, about 35 km east of Paris. The property remained the home of his inheriting male descendants until 1975 when Guy de Rothschild gifted it to the University of Paris. In addition to his banking business, in 1868 James de Rothschild purchased Chateau Lafite, one of France's most outstanding vineyards. Located in the Bordeaux region, it is a business that remains in the family to this day.

V.3 Success as a businessman
            He was the most powerful banker in the country and following the Napoleonic Wars, played a major role in financing the construction of railroads and the mining business that helped make France an industrial power. A strong-willed and shrewd businessman, James de Rothschild amassed a fortune that made him one of the richest men in the world.
            Baron James de Rothschild died in 1868, just three months after purchasing the Chateau Lafite vineyard. According to the writings of his nephew Nathaniel, 4,000 people passed through the Drawing room, 6,000 people stood in the court yard and the streets from the Rue Laffitte to the P?re Lachaise cemetery were lined with onlookers. James de Rothschild had remained active in business throughout his life, expanding his continental railway interests so successfully that by the time of his death, the capital of the Paris house far exceeded that of his other family members.

V.4 Family and Marriage
            On July 11, 1824 in Frankfurt-am-Main Germany, he married Betty Salomon von Rothschild, the daughter of his brother, Salomon Mayer .They had Charlotte, Gustave Samuel, Salomon James, and Edmond Benjamin as their children.

VI. Carl Mayer von Rothschild

VI.1 Establishment of C M de Rothschild & Figli
            Born Calmann Mayer Rothschild in Frankfurt am Main, he was the fourth of the five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. He would become known as "Carl" by the family except for his English relatives who translated it as "Charles". He was trained in his father's banking business and lived at home until age twenty-nine when he acquired a modest residence at 33 Neue Mainzer Strasse in Frankfurt am Main. Since the 1821 occupation of Naples by the Austrian army provided the opportunity for the Rothschilds to set up business in the Kingdom, Carl Rothschild was sent to Naples where he established C M de Rothschild & Figli to operate as a satellite office to the Rothschild banking family of Germany headquarters in Frankfurt am Main.

VI.2 Overcoming Expectations with Success
            The C M de Rothschild & Figli bank arranged substantial loans to the Papal States and to various Kings of Naples plus the Duchy of Parma and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Carl Rothschild has sometimes been seen as the least gifted of the five brothers and he faced some difficulties at first. In the 1830s, Naples followed Spain with a gradual shift away from conventional bond issues that began to affect the bank's growth and profitability. During the second half of the 1840s the business evidenced no growth and was only marginally profitable.
            However, he proved himself in Naples as a strong financial manager and someone very capable at developing all-important business connections. He established a good working relationship with Luigi de' Medici, the "Direttore della Segreteria di Azienda del Regno di Napoli" (Finance Minister), and his operation became the dominant banking house in Naples. As a result of Carl's success, the Rothschilds had a substantial banking presence in England and three other major European capitals, giving the family considerable influence and an advantage over their competitors.

VI.3 Marriage and Family
            He had his marriage on September 16, 1818 with Adelheid Herz. They would have Charlotte, Mayer Carl Adolf Carl, Wilhelm Carl, and Anselm Alexander Carl as their children.
            Two years after his wife Adelheid died in 1853 and one year after their son Anselm Alexander Carl died at the age of eighteen, Carl von Rothschild died in Naples. One seventh of his estate went to his daughter Charlotte with the rest divided equally between his three surviving sons. Adolf Carl took over the business in Naples from his father and Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl succeeded their childless uncle Amschel in Frankfurt.

VII Conclusion
            In separating the circumstantial from the personal and individual aspects of the dynasty¡¯s hegemony during the 19th century, one must note that, although the first group of Rothschilds arrived as strangers in their new countries, unfamiliar with the languages and the customs and subject to the jealousy and competition of local bankers, they stood out from those around them by their fierce will to acquire a place in the sun. By the second generation, when the sons of the five founding brothers (notable among them Anthony and Lionel Nathan in London, Alphonse and Gustave in Paris) entered the business, the Rothschilds were polished and refined, as well as naturalized and nationalized to the point of blending into leadership positions without losing any of their family attributes. It is possible that the young Rothschilds' education and the extremely worldly existence of the heads of the various houses helped to create this true mutation.
            On the other hand, the Rothschilds were influencing the national economy and politics of their countries as greatly as they were being influenced themselves. Alphonse, for example, as the head of the international banking syndicate that in 1871 and 1872 placed the two great French loans known as liberation loans after France's defeat by Prussia, could boast without immodesty that his influence had maintained the chief of the French government, Adolphe Thiers, in power. At the same time, in 1875, Lionel, in London (where he had been a member of the House of Commons since 1858), was able to give on a few hours notice the ?4,000,000 that allowed the British government to become the principal stockholder in the Suez Canal Company. Obviously, the two cousins had become important citizens in their respective countries.
            There were frequent marriages between Rothschild cousins, and marriages generally were - with very rare exceptions - with Jews. In spite of the number of their descendants and the complexity of their family tree, the Rothschilds, particularly those of Vienna and Paris during the Nazi period, preserved the kind of family unity necessary to weather great misfortunes.
            The Rothschilds were much-honored. Mayer¡¯s five sons were made barons of the Austrian Empire, a Rothschild was the first Jew to enter the British Parliament, and another was the first to be elevated to the British peerage. The head of the British branch of the family has always been considered the unofficial head of British Jewry. Members of the British and French families - the only ones still engaged in banking after the seizure by the Nazis of the Austrian house - have distinguished themselves as scientists and often as philanthropists. Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902?88) became a premier winemaker, of the vineyard Mouton-Rothschild.


Bibliography

Note : websites quoted below were visited in December 2008.
1.      The Rothschilds; Frederic Morton ; Kodansha International. 1991.
2.      Article Rothschild Banking Family, from Wikipedia, last modified on 11 September 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothschilds
3.      The Rothschilds Family website, History http://www.rothschild.info/history/
4.      Article Rothschild Family, from Sourcewatch, last modified 14 November 2008 http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rothschild_family
5.      The Rothschild Archives, http://www.rothschildarchive.org/
6.      Article : Rothschild family, from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 29 Nov. 2008 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/510613/Rothschild-family.
7.      The Rothschilds: The First Barons of Banking, Rupert Wright, The National, 2008, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10855
8.      Concordia, Integritas, Industria - The Rothschilds - LCF Rothschild Group http://www.lcf-rothschild.com/en/groupe/rothschild/concordia.asp


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