What a Civil War-era Blockade Runner Can Teach Us About Protecting Wealth

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The Hard Assets Alliance Blog

What a Civil War-era Blockade Runner Can Teach Us About Protecting Wealth

When Jared Dillian, editor at Mauldin Economics, hopped aboard a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of historic Charleston, South Carolina, he wasn’t expecting a dramatic lesson on how to preserve wealth in tumultuous times.

In this video, Jared tells a story he heard that day of how Civil War–era Charleston businessman, civic leader, and blockade runner George Walton Williams managed to ensure that when the canons fell silent and the war was over—no matter which side won—his own wealth would not be “gone with the wind.” Even when the dollar of the Confederate States of America, which had never been backed by hard assets, was good for nothing more than wallpaper or kindling, Williams had arranged to survive and thrive.

During the war, blockade running was a profitable but risky business, fraught with danger. But Williams knew that, even as he took the risks that grew his wealth, he needed to ensure that he would not lose it all if the world he had known changed forever. Jared explains how Williams did it.


Preserving wealth can seem like a more cautious and pedestrian goal than scoring big returns. Yet, as Williams knew, it is wealth preserved that insures the means to take advantage of opportunities in the wake of an economic downturn. And it is wealth preserved that funds a comfortable retirement. Now, as in Williams’s day, hard assets in the form of gold and other precious metals provide a hedge as the global race to conquer debt through currency devaluation continues. Gold and other precious metals can play a critical role in a diversified portfolio, preserving wealth in times of turmoil.

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