Sunday, May 30, 2010

August Belmont

August Belmont was born (December 8, 1813) in Alzey, Hesse, to a Jewish family. He immigrated to New York City in 1837 after becoming the American representative of the Rothschild family's banking house in Frankfurt.

After marrying Caroline Slidell Perry in 1849, her uncle John Slidell became interested in Belmont, a Democrat, seeing him as an able and enthusiastic protégé. Belmont was originally asked by Slidell to campaign for James Buchanan in New York. Although Franklin Pierce ended up winning the nomination, Belmont supported him and gave him large contributions.

President Pierce appointed Belmont chargé d'affaires for the United States at the Hague, as well as the American minister. In 1860, as a delegate to the Democratic Convention, he supported Stephen A. Douglas, who subsequently named Belmont the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Belmont dissuaded the Rothschilds and many other bankers, European business and political leaders from providing the Confederates with loans.

An avid sportsman, the famed Belmont Stakes thoroughbred horse race is named in his honor.

Dresden Bank in Dresden, Germany. Signed by August Belmont and payable in Reichsmarks. Years: 1880-83

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