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Merchant Bankers and City Aristocracy

Y. Cassis
The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 114-120
DOI: 10.2307/590996
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/590996
Page Count: 7
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Merchant Bankers and City Aristocracy
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Abstract

In a recent article in the British Journal of Sociology (vol. XXXVII, no. 2, June 1986), S. D. Chapman refutes the author's earlier conclusions that English bankers were integrated into aristocratic circles, considering that the rise of 'non aristocratic' houses such as Kleinworts or Schroeders was a more significant feature of the City of London. This article is an answer to S. D. Chapman. It questions some of his measures of the size of the merchant banks -- the acceptance business as opposed to the issue business, which remained the strength of old 'aristocratic' houses such as Roths-childs or Barings. Moreover, it argues that the analysis of the City cannot be limited to a few merchant banks and shows that it was dominated by a group of private bankers, merchants and merchant bankers who combined economic power, social status and political influence, and that on the basis of all the social indicators, in particular education and marriages, this City aristocracy was strongly integrated into the landed aristocracy. The article concludes by emphasizing the differences between business achievement and social status.

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