|Chicago Board of Trade, circa 1900|
The United States has stricter laws than any nation against insider trading in financial markets, but the earliest of these laws date only from 1909. Prior, stock and commodities exchanges governed themselves with minimal external oversight. Geiger will present a close-up view of member relationships and business practices within the Chicago Board of Trade during the later 19th century when rival groups of exchange members, often family-centered, competed for money and power on the trading floor. Members routinely employed tactics that now would be flagrantly illegal. Even so, they created an exchange of international importance, and introduced strategic financial innovations that transformed global markets.