Street of Dreams - Boulevard of Broken Hearts

Wall Street's First Century

2 May 2003

This is the story of America's most famous street, Wall Street. Exploring its development through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Wachtel charts its dramatic transformation, offering a window on the past that helps us understand how it became the center of world finance that we see today.

This is the story of America's most famous street, Wall Street. No other place is so inextricably linked to the nation's history, the development of capitalism and the dramatic highs and lows of the financial markets. No other place has provoked such mythology, or has been the subject of so many dreams and illusions.
Howard Watchel's book provides a fascinating account of the origins of this famous street. Exploring its development through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he charts its dramatic transformation, offering a window on the past that helps us understand how it became the center of world finance that we see today. Drawing on original archive research, and illustrated throughout with photographs, "Street of Dreams - Boulevard of Broken Hearts" is lively and informative narrative that reads not only as a popular history of one of America's great icons, but also as a critical assessment of Wall Street's role in the political, economic and cultural evolution of the country in the nineteenth century.
Watchel looks at the key characters - both better-known and lesser-known - who shaped the course of Wall Street's early years; he traces its wider social history and its physical development and architecture; he focuses on the New York Stock Exchange as the most important institution on the street, including a wider history of banking houses and competing exchanges; he explores how Wall Street has influenced politics, and how it has been shaped by larger political forces around it; and he examines its love-hate relationship with two other streets - Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street - the forces of government and the people of America.

The big bang: Alexander Hamilton and the origins of Wall Street
Alexander Hamilton's Wall Street
The Hamilton Project
The Street's Origins
Controversy and Scandal 
The Congressional Debate
Did Hamilton Collude with Wall Street?
The National Bank, William Duer and Financial Crisis
The Invention of Wall Street

Lex Mercatoria
The Arcadian Republic Versus the Law of Commerce
Hamilton's Fatal Flaw
Financial Regeneration on Wall Street
Wall Street's Financing of the War of 1812
The New York Stock & Exchange Board
 Nathaniel Prime
The Erie Canal
Leveraging Erie's Success
Cultural Improvements

Jackson and the 1830s bank war
The Second National Bank and Nicholas Biddle
James Hamilton
Jackson's Message to Congress
Framing the Language of Financial Politics
Miscalculations
The Ensuing Financial Crisis

The new metropolis
The Stock Brokering Profession and Wall Street Innovations
The Telegraph
The Clash of Classes
Planning for the New Metropolis
Evangelicals Confront Mammon

Wall Street and the civil war
A Divided Wall Street
Country Versus Profits
Wartime Financial Measures
The Cookes of Philadelphia
Wall Street Fights Back
Unifying the Nation's Finances

Wars, other than civil
Railroad Wars
Round Two
The Gold War
The Aftermath

Trustee over the nation's economy
J.P. Morgan
Jacob Schiff and Edward Harriman
De Facto Central Banker
NYSE's Transformation
Women on Wall Street
Technological Alterations
Pennsylvania Avenue Responds

The American century
Morgan's Last Hurrah
The Pujo Hearings
The Money Question
The Great Crash and Its Aftermath
A New and Better Deal
The Era of Global Finance
Street of Dreams - Boulevard of Broken Hearts
Notes
Bibliography

May 2003
ISBN/ISSN: 0 7453 1925 4

About the authors

Howard Wachtel

Howard Wachtel is a former TNI fellow and an expert on the financialisation of the global economy who foresaw the financial crisis long before it struck in autumn 2008. His book in 2003 Street of Dreams. Boulevard of Broken Hearts: Wall Street's First Century (London: Pluto Press) is a widely respected history of the infamous New York street.  Howard was the first co-ordinator of TNI's Global Economy Programme and currently a Professor Emeritus of Economics at American University in Washington DC.