While J. P. Morgan, Jim Fiske, Daniel Drew, Jay Gould, and others were amassing great fortunes in the New York Stock Exchange, similar speculative activities were occurring in the Chicago Board of Trade. Grain trading giants like P. D. Armour, Ben Hutchinson, Arthur Cutten and Ira Munn were gambling with our most precious food supply-grains from the American heartland. The grain traders regularly made and lost millions in a hot speculative market, free from regulation. They could bring Chicago to a standstill by cornering the market and driving grain prices up and down-to the great dismay of farmers, merchants, and food suppliers across the country. The market corners and price manipulations provoked many landmark court cases, including the famous Munn v. Illinois, first of the "Granger cases." The Supreme Court ruled that grain elevators should be regulated by the government in the "public interest," paving the way for extensive legislative regulation of private business. THE GRAIN TRADERS is the first complete history of the Chicago Board of Trade and its pioneer grain traders. It is a fascinating and colorful story told through the personalities of adventuresome, gambling men in pursuit of unlimited wealth.
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