Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sobel Wiki: The forgotten giant

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on Monte Benedict, the founder of Petroleum of Mexico, and Bernard Kramer's partner in political corruption.

Although Benedict is introduced to For Want of a Nail first, he is ultimately fated to play second fiddle to Kramer. As described by Sobel, Kramer is the bolder and more imaginative of the two. Benedict is a native of the U.S.M., while Kramer is an immigrant who apparently snuck (or bribed his way) past an army cordon into the gold fields of California. Both fought in the Rocky Mountain War against the Confederation of North America, but Benedict was apparently a common soldier, while Kramer was an officer. Both used their wealth to buy members of the Mexican Senate, but Kramer was able to make his man the President of Mexico. Benedict was content to take control of the oil industry in the state of Jefferson, while Kramer backed a coup d'etat in Guatemala in order to build a trans-oceanic canal there. Benedict named his company after Mexico, while Kramer named his company after himself. Both men cooperated to install Benito Hermión as dictator of Mexico in 1881, but Hermión was Kramer's man, not Benedict's. Finally, Kramer left his company to Diego Cortez y Catalán, who presumably worked his way up through the company's ranks to the position of vice president. Benedict left Petroleum of Mexico to his nephew, Andrew Benedict, whose most notable achievement was handing over control of his company to Cortez after ten years.

One final mark of the relative importance of the two men: Kramer's Sobel Wiki article was created over three years ago; Benedict's was created yesterday.

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