How did Charles E. Mitchell influence the panic and stock market crash of October 1929?
Ryanne Chitjian '08-'09


Charles E. Mitchell was an American banker during the 20’s. He had many jobs as assistants to presidents of various companies and even started his own investment house, CE Mitchell & Co., but his real impact on the American Economy came when he was President of the National City Company
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National City Bank President Charles Mitchell After Acquittal (2)
Mitchell started out as the assistant to the president at the Western Electricity Company in Chicago in 1903. He then moved three years later to the president's assistant at The Trust Company of America in New York City. He stayed their until 1911 when he left to form his own investment house, C.E. Mitchell &Co. He ran his company until 1916 when he helped to reorganize the National City Company of America and later became the president. It was in this position, as the president of the National City Company, that he had his greatest influence. He later became head of the company in 1929, but had to step down in 1933 when he was exposed for income tax evasions, illegal stock transactions and speculating in his own bank's securities. Mitchell's role in the stock market crash came during his time at the National City Bank Company, and his influence is controversial.



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National City Bank in New York City (1)
Some people believed that Mitchell had a positive impact on the panic of 1929. Mitchell was considered the only hope for America to avoid the stock market crash. They believed that he did his best to try to keep it for falling, but it was too much. Earlier in the year, Mitchell Had saved the stock market after a mini crash of March 25th. The United States Government saw the fall and told all of its banks to withhold all loans to finance securities. A few days later, Mitchell announced that his bank would loan up to $25 million in call money. This announcement reassured the public, and the panic stopped. When the market started to fall again in October, Mitchell tried to do the same thing and other bankers followed his lead, but they were unable to save the market. Some people saw Mitchell as a hero rather than a villain and that his bold step in March against the US government saved the economy from crashing then and that it just was not enough to hold up the market later that year in October.



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The Rise and Fall of the Dow Jones Industria Average 1927-1933 (3)
Others believe that the Stock Market crash was all Mitchell’s fault. Now of course the whole crash was not the effect of one person’s action, but the actions of Mitchell and others like him caused the great crash. Mitchell was said to have made illegal transactions on the stock market and even speculating in his own bank’s securities. On top of his illegal dealings just in the stock market, he also was caught for tax evasions, and finally had to step down from his position, at that point as chairman of the National City Company. To these people, Mitchell's disregard for the national government's order not to lend money in the mini crash of March 35 1929 was a heroic action to save the American economy, but a selfish action to save his own money and his own business since all would be lost if the stock market crashed. Because he was a banker, his bank not only had made many loans to people so that they would invest in stock, it had also taken money that people had saved in the bank and invested it in the stock market to make extra money. Also, Mitchell had money in the stock market and if it crashed, all that money would be lost. The people who thought it was Mitchell’s fault saw him as a wealthy, upper class man that was just using the general public and big businesses to better himself. He was a selfish man who cared nothing about the American people as a whole, but only the hard cash that was in his pockets that made him rich.





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Bierman, Herold. “Chapter 8: The Accused.” The cause of the 1929 stock market crash. 25 May 2009. <http://books.google.com/books?id=wU0PaSjUU1YC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=charles+mitchell+1929&source=bl&ots=FaZuat7_ad&sig=EawqaRjov7pwvq1rRjHPeAgYnaU&hl=en&ei=6GQbSofMNaPwswPl5ujZCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9#PPA104,M1>.
Galbraith, Kenneth. "Something Should Be Done?" The Great Crash, 1929. 25 May 2009. <http://books.google.com/books?id=l-xRKtKEpTwC&pg=PA37&dq=charles+mitchell+1929#PPA35,M1>.


1) <http://weblogs.amny.com/entertainment/urbanite/blog/firstnationalcitybank-thumb.jpg>
2) <http://pro.corbis.com/search/Enlargement.aspx?CID=isg&mediauid={4181960E-1B9F-42BC-9F63-184F6E54AFA8}>
3) <http://www.dow5000.com/1929crash.jpg>