Private financial advisor to Victoria Woodhull and financier for The Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Morgan provided part of the funding, along with Anthony Joseph Drexel (1826–1893) for the Gold Scandal of 1869. The scandal brought the U.S. economy to the brink of total failure with the simultaneous collapses of both the stock and gold markets. Everyone involved with Vanderbilt on the largest manipulation of the free markets in financial history made incredible sums of money.
Young Morgan was the son of one of the most successful expatriated Americans, Junius Spencer Morgan, operating in London, England. Vanderbilt had conducted business with Julius for decades before calling the prodigal son, J.P. in to work with him. Vanderbilt endorsed Junius to secure and handle funding from the Bank of England for the Union forces during the Civil War. Similarly, Joseph Anthony Drexel was the son of another long-time financier associate for Vanderbilt, Francis Martin Drexel, who placed his boy at Drexel Burnham Lambert.
After successfully working for Vanderbilt in 1869, the two second-generation bankers formed Drexel, Morgan & Co. in 1871. That merchant bank became J.P. Morgan Bank & Co., financing the industrial revolution and providing emergency funding to the United States government on several occasions.