Silly Conspiracy Theory: The Rothschilds control the world

"Give me control of a Nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws." 

This quote frequently is attributed by conspiracy theorists to Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

A comparable quote is attributed to his son, Nathan:

I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.

Mayer_Amschel_Rothschild_grave

 Grave of Mayer Amschel Rothschild

 

There are some really big problems with these claims.

First, thorough research has uncovered no evidence whatsoever that either Rothschild ever said such a thing. 

Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena -- an award-winning weekly science podcast -- searched for a primary source and reported:

In fact, that famous quote from Nathan Rothschild about "controlling the British money supply" turns out to be a fabrication. I found no original source for the quote at all, though it's repeated in dozens of conspiracy books and on tens of thousands of conspiracy websites. I did a thorough search of all available newspaper archives from Nathan's lifetime, and had some friends check various university library systems. No such quote appears in the academic literature. After such a thorough search, I feel confident stating that he never made such a statement.

But the quote doesn't appear to be completely made up by the conspiracy theorists. It's most likely a revised and restyled version of this quote attributed to Nathan's father, the original Mayer Rothschild:

"Give me control of a Nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws."

But like the longer, more specific quote from Nathan, even this one turns out to be apocryphal.  Author G. Edward Griffin did manage to track it down, though. He found that this saying was:

Quoted by Senator Robert L. Owen, former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency and one of the sponsors of the Federal Reserve Act, National Economy and the Banking System, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939), p. 99. This quotation could not be verified in a primary reference work. However, when one considers the life and accomplishments of the elder Rothschild, there can be little doubt that this sentiment was, in fact, his outlook and guiding principle

And this is certainly true. In Rothschild's day, before banking regulation and antitrust laws existed, it was indeed possible for small groups to gain controlling interests in enough financial institutions that it could be argued that they "controlled" a nation's money supply. Evidently the Senator made up the quote to support whatever speech he was making, and attributed it to a famous name to give it some clout.

Second, reckless falsehoods play into the hands of the most sinister elements of society.  In the case of the Rothschild family itself, Skeptoid reminds its readers that a "1940 German movie called Die Rothschilds Aktien auf Waterloo (was) described as 'the Third Reich's first anti-Semitic manifesto on film.'"   "Nazi Germany devastated the Austrian Rothschilds and seized all of their assets. The family members escaped to the United States, but lost their entire fortunes to the Nazis, including a number of palaces and a huge amount of artwork."

The tenor of both apocryphal quotes echoes an authentic, lyrical and deeply discerning observation by Scottish writer, politician, and patriotAndrew Fletcher of Saltoun who wrote, in a letter to the Marquis of Montrose in 1703:

I said I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher's sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads he need not care who should make the laws of a nation, and we find that most of the ancient legislators thought that they could not well reform the manners of any city without the help of a lyric, and sometimes of a dramatic poet.

This sentiment has become well known in paraphrased form, "Let me make the ballads of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws."  This writer infers that Fletcher's words may have been the inspiration for the malevolently confabulated sinister sentiments attributed to the Rothschilds.

 

 

 

 

Skeptoid's conclusion?

By my analysis, the Rothschilds are best thought of not as an evil shadow conspiracy, but as a great success story of rags to riches, Jewish slum to financing the defeat of Napoleon. The price of gold is fixed twice a day by five members of the London Bullion Association: Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank, Scotiabank, HSBC, and Societe Generale, and they conduct their twice-daily meeting over the telephone. Today this is mere financial necessity, but until 2004, it was also a century-old tradition as great as the ringing of the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. The five distinguished representatives included a Rothschild, and they met in person in a paneled room at the London office of N M Rothschild & Sons. That ritual is now a thing of the past, as is the power of the world's greatest financial dynasty.


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