Did U Know – Cornelius Vanderbilt?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

cornelius-vanderbilt-billionaire

Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794 – January 4, 1877), also known informally as “Commodore Vanderbilt”, was an American business magnate and philanthropist who built his wealth in railroads and shipping.[2][3] Born poor and having only a mediocre education, Vanderbilt used perseverance, intelligence and luck to work into leadership positions in the inland water trade, and invest in the rapidly growing railroad industry. He is known for owning the New York Central Railroad.

As one of the richest Americans in history and wealthiest figures overall, Vanderbilt was the patriarch of a wealthy, influential family. He provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. According to historian H. Roger Grant:

Contemporaries, too, often hated or feared Vanderbilt or at least considered him an unmannered brute. While Vanderbilt could be a rascal, combative and cunning, he was much more a builder than a wrecker. … being honorable, shrewd, and hard-working.[4]

Early years

Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island, New York on May 27, 1794 to Cornelius van Derbilt and Phebe Hand.[2] He began working on his father’s ferry in New York Harbor as a boy, quitting school at the age of 11. At the age of 16, Vanderbilt decided to start his own ferry service. According to one version of events, he borrowed $100 from his mother to purchase a periauger (a shallow draft, two-masted sailing vessel), which he christened the Swiftsure.[6] However, according to the first account of his life, published in 1853, the periauger belonged to his father and the younger Vanderbilt received half the profit. He began his business by ferrying freight and passengers on a ferry between Staten Island and Manhattan. Such was his energy and eagerness in his trade that other captains nearby took to calling him The Commodore in jest – a nickname that stuck with him all his life.[6]

While many Vanderbilt family members had joined the Episcopal Church,[7] Cornelius Vanderbilt remained a member of the Moravian Church to his death.[8][9] Along with other members of the Vanderbilt family, he helped erect a local Moravian parish church in his city.[10]

On December 19, 1813, at age 19 Vanderbilt married his first cousin, Sophia Johnson, daughter of Nathaniel Johnson and Elizabeth Hand. They moved into a boarding house on Broad Street in Manhattan.

In addition to running his ferry, Vanderbilt bought his brother-in-law John De Forest’s schooner Charlotte and traded in food and merchandise in partnership with his father and others. But on November 24, 1817, a ferry entrepreneur named Thomas Gibbons asked Vanderbilt to captain his steamboat between New Jersey and New York. Although Vanderbilt kept his own businesses running, he became Gibbons’s business manager.[11]:31–35

When Vanderbilt entered his new position, Gibbons was fighting against a steamboat monopoly in New York waters, which had been granted by the New York State Legislature to the politically influential patrician Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton, who had designed the steamboat. Though both Livingston and Fulton had died by the time Vanderbilt started working for Gibbons, the monopoly was held by Livingston’s heirs. They had granted a license to Aaron Ogden to run a ferry between New York and New Jersey. Gibbons launched his steamboat venture because of a personal dispute with Ogden, whom he hoped to drive into bankruptcy. To accomplish this, he undercut prices and also brought a landmark legal case – Gibbons v. Ogden – to the United States Supreme Court to overturn the monopoly.[11]:37–48

Working for Gibbons, Vanderbilt learned to operate a large and complicated business. He moved with his family to New Brunswick, New Jersey, a stop on Gibbons’ line between New York and Philadelphia. There his wife Sophia operated a very profitable inn, using the proceeds to feed, clothe and educate their children. Vanderbilt also proved a quick study in legal matters, representing Gibbons in meetings with lawyers. He also went to Washington, D.C., to hire Daniel Webster to argue the case before the Supreme Court. Vanderbilt appealed his own case against the monopoly to the Supreme Court, which was next on the docket after Gibbons v. Ogden. The Court never heard Vanderbilt’s case, because on March 2, 1824, it ruled in Gibbons’ favor, saying that states had no power to interfere with interstate commerce. The case is still considered a landmark ruling. The protection of competitive interstate commerce is considered the basis for much of the prosperity which the United States has generated.[11]:47–67

Steamboat entrepreneur

After Thomas Gibbons died in 1826, Vanderbilt worked for Gibbons’ son William until 1829. Though he had always run his own businesses on the side, he now worked entirely for himself. Step by step, he started lines between New York and the surrounding region. First he took over Gibbons’ ferry to New Jersey, then switched to western Long Island Sound. In 1831, he took over his brother Jacob’s line to Peekskill, New York, on the lower Hudson River. That year he faced opposition by a steamboat operated by Daniel Drew, who forced Vanderbilt to buy him out. Impressed, Vanderbilt became a secret partner with Drew for the next thirty years, so that the two men would have an incentive to avoid competing with each other.[11]:72, 84–87

On November 8, 1833, Vanderbilt was nearly killed in the Hightstown rail accident on the Camden and Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. Also on the train was former president John Quincy Adams.[11]:90–91

In 1834, Vanderbilt competed on the Hudson River against the Hudson River Steamboat Association, a steamboat monopoly between New York City and Albany. Using the name “The People’s Line,” he used the populist language associated with Democratic president Andrew Jackson to get popular support for his business. At the end of the year, the monopoly paid him a large amount to stop competing, and he switched his operations to Long Island Sound.[11]:99–104

During the 1830s, textile mills were built in large numbers in New England as the United States developed its manufacturing base. They processed cotton from the Deep South, so were directly tied to the slave societies. Some of the first railroads in the United States were built from Boston to Long Island Sound, to connect with steamboats that ran to New York. By the end of the decade, Vanderbilt dominated the steamboat business on the Sound, and began to take over management of the connecting railroads. In the 1840s, he launched a campaign to take over the most attractive of these lines, the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad, popularly known as the Stonington. By cutting fares on competing lines, Vanderbilt drove down the Stonington stock price, and took over the presidency of the company in 1847. It was the first of the many railroads he would head.[11]:119–46

During these years, Vanderbilt also operated many other businesses. He bought large amounts of real estate in Manhattan and Staten Island, and took over the Staten Island Ferryin 1838. It was in the 1830s when he was first referred to as “commodore,” then the highest rank in the United States Navy. A common nickname for important steamboat entrepreneurs, by the end of the 1840s, only Vanderbilt was referred to by this nickname.[11]:124–27

Railroad Empire

New York and Harlem Railroad

Train
Photo credit: Haiku Deck

Though Vanderbilt had relinquished his presidency of the Stonington Railroad during the California gold rush, he took an interest in several railroads during the 1850s, serving on the boards of directors of the Erie Railway, the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Hartford and New Haven, and the New York and Harlem (popularly known as the Harlem). In 1863, Vanderbilt took control of the Harlem in a famous stockmarket corner, and was elected its president. He later explained that he wanted to show that he could take this railroad, which was generally considered worthless, and make it valuable. It had a key advantage: it was the only steam railroad to enter the center of Manhattan, running down 4th Avenue (later Park Avenue) to a station on 26th Street, where it connected with a horse-drawn streetcar line. From Manhattan it ran up to Chatham Four Corners, New York, where it had a connection to the railroads running east and west.[11]:365–386

Vanderbilt brought his eldest son Billy in as vice-president of the Harlem. Billy had had a nervous breakdown early in life, and his father had sent him to a farm on Staten Island. But he proved himself a good businessman, and eventually became the head of the Staten Island Railway. Though the Commodore had once scorned Billy, he was impressed by his son’s success. Eventually he promoted him to operational manager of all his railroad lines. In 1864, the Commodore sold his last ships, in order to concentrate on the railroads.[11]:387–90

Death

Cornelius Vanderbilt died on January 4, 1877, at his residence, No. 10 Washington Place, after having been confined to his rooms for about eight months. The immediate cause of his death was exhaustion, brought on by long suffering from a complication of chronic disorders.[2] At the time of his death, aged 82, Vanderbilt had a fortune estimated at $100 million. In his will, he left 95% of his $100 million estate to his son William (Billy) and to William’s four sons ($5 million to Cornelius, and $2 million apiece to WilliamFrederick, and George). The Commodore said that he believed William was the only heir capable of maintaining the business empire.

quote-never-be-a-minion-always-be-an-owner-cornelius-vanderbilt-71-59-05
Photo credit: AZ Quotes

Railroads controlled by Vanderbilt

 

Did U Know? – John Davison Rockefeller Sr.

TheMenWhoBuiltAmerica

From Wikipedia.

John_D._Rockefeller_1885

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate and philanthropist. Widely considered the wealthiest American of all time[4][5] and the richest person in modern history,[6][7] Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was shaped by his con man father and religious mother. His family moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at the age of 16, and went into a business partnership with Maurice B. Clark and his brothers at 20. After buying them out, he and his brother William founded Rockefeller & Andrews with Samuel Andrews. Instead of drilling for oil, he concentrated on refining. In 1867, Henry Flagler entered the partnership. The Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler company grew by incorporating local refineries. Rockefeller formally founded the Standard Oil Company, Inc. in 1870 as an Ohio partnership with his brother, Henry FlaglerJabez A. BostwickSamuel Andrews and a silent partnerStephen V. Harkness. He ran it until 1897.

As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak.[c] Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry, which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry, and along with other key contemporary industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, defined the structure of modern philanthropy.[8]

Philanthropy

Rockefeller’s charitable giving began with his first job as a clerk at age 16, when he gave six percent of his earnings to charity, as recorded in his personal ledger. By the time he was twenty, his charity exceeded ten percent of his income. Much of his giving was church-related.[96] His church was later affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention, which formed from American Baptists in the North with ties to their historic missions to establish schools and colleges for freedmen in the South after the American Civil War. Rockefeller attended Baptist churches every Sunday; when traveling he would often attend services at African-American Baptist congregations, leaving a substantial donation.[96] As Rockefeller’s wealth grew, so did his giving, primarily to educational and public health causes, but also for basic science and the arts. He was advised primarily by Frederick Taylor Gates[97] after 1891,[98] and, after 1897, also by his son.

He was allegedly influenced[dubious ] by a meeting in 1893 with Swami Vivekananda, who urged him to use more of his philanthropy to help the poor and distressed people.[99][100]

Rockefeller believed in the Efficiency Movement, arguing that: “To help an inefficient, ill-located, unnecessary school is a waste … it is highly probable that enough money has been squandered on unwise educational projects to have built up a national system of higher education adequate to our needs, if the money had been properly directed to that end.”[101]

Rockefeller and his advisers invented the conditional grant, which required the recipient to “root the institution in the affections of as many people as possible who, as contributors, become personally concerned, and thereafter may be counted on to give to the institution their watchful interest and cooperation”.[102]

In 1884, Rockefeller provided major funding for Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in Atlanta for African-American women, which became Spelman College.[103] His wife Laura Spelman Rockefeller, was dedicated to civil rights and equality for women.[104] John and Laura donated money and supported the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary whose mission was in line with their faith based beliefs. Today known as Spelman College, an all women Historical Black College or University <HBCU> in Atlanta, GA., named after Laura’s family. The Spelman Family, Rockefeller’s in-laws, along with John Rockefeller were ardent abolitionists before the Civil War and were dedicated to supporting the Underground Railroad.[104] John Rockefeller was impressed by the vision of the school and removed the debt from the school. The oldest existing building on Spelman’s campus, Rockefeller Hall, is named after him.[105] Rockefeller also gave considerable donations to Denison University[106] and other Baptist colleges.

Rockefeller gave $80 million to the University of Chicago[107] under William Rainey Harper, turning a small Baptist college into a world-class institution by 1900. He also gave a grant to the American Baptist Missionaries foreign mission board, the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society in establishing Central Philippine University, the first Baptist and second American university in Asia, in 1905 in the heavily Catholic Philippines.[108][109]

Did U Know? – The Men Who Built America

TheMenWhoBuiltAmerica

Facts from Wikipedia

The Men Who Built America (also known as The Innovators: The Men Who Built America in some international markets) is a six-hour, four part miniseries docudrama which was originally broadcast on the History Channel in the Fall of 2012, and on the History Channel UK in Spring of 2013. The series focuses on the lives of Cornelius VanderbiltJohn D. RockefellerAndrew CarnegieJ. P. Morgan and Henry Ford and how their industrial innovations and business empires revolutionized modern society. The series is directed by Patrick Reams and Ruán Magan and is narrated by Campbell Scott. It averaged 2.6 million total viewers (1.2 million adults 25–54 and 1 million adults 18–49) across 4 nights.

Themen

Cornelius Vanderbilt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794 – January 4, 1877), also known informally as “Commodore Vanderbilt”, was an American business magnate and philanthropist who built his wealth in railroads and shipping.[2][3] Born poor and having only a mediocre education, Vanderbilt used perseverance, intelligence and luck to work into leadership positions in the inland water trade, and invest in the rapidly growing railroad industry. He is known for owning the New York Central Railroad.

As one of the richest Americans in history and wealthiest figures overall, Vanderbilt was the patriarch of a wealthy, influential family. He provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. According to historian H. Roger Grant:

Contemporaries, too, often hated or feared Vanderbilt or at least considered him an unmannered brute. While Vanderbilt could be a rascal, combative and cunning, he was much more a builder than a wrecker. … being honorable, shrewd, and hard-working.[4]

John D. Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate and philanthropist. Widely considered the wealthiest American of all time[4][5] and the richest person in modern history,[6][7] Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was shaped by his con man father and religious mother. His family moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at the age of 16, and went into a business partnership with Maurice B. Clark and his brothers at 20. After buying them out, he and his brother William founded Rockefeller & Andrews with Samuel Andrews. Instead of drilling for oil, he concentrated on refining. In 1867, Henry Flagler entered the partnership. The Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler company grew by incorporating local refineries. Rockefeller formally founded the Standard Oil Company, Inc. in 1870 as an Ohio partnership with his brother, Henry FlaglerJabez A. BostwickSamuel Andrews and a silent partnerStephen V. Harkness. He ran it until 1897.

As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak.[c] Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry, which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry, and along with other key contemporary industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, defined the structure of modern philanthropy.[8]

Andrew Carnegie

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andrew Carnegie (/kɑːrˈnɡi/kar-NAY-gee, but commonly /ˈkɑːrnəɡi/KAR-nə-ghee or /kɑːrˈnɛɡi/kar-NEG-ee;[3] November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-Americanindustrialist.

Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is often identified as one of the richest people(and richest Americans) ever.[4] He became a leading philanthropist in the United States, and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away about $350 million[5][note 1] to charities, foundations, and universities—almost 90 percent of his fortune. His 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848. Carnegie started work as a telegrapher, and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges, and oil derricks. He accumulated further wealth as a bond salesman, raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million.[5] It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next couple of years.[6]

Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall and the Peace Palace and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New YorkCarnegie Endowment for International PeaceCarnegie Institution for ScienceCarnegie Trust for the Universities of ScotlandCarnegie Hero FundCarnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others.

J. P. Morgan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Pierpont Morgan Sr. (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913) was an Americanfinancier and banker who dominated corporate financeand industrial consolidation in late 19th and early 20th Century United States.

In 1892, Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric. He was also instrumental in the creation of the United States Steel CorporationInternational Harvester and AT&T. At the height of Morgan’s career during the early 1900s, he and his partners had financial investments in many large corporations and had significant influence over the nation’s high finance and United States Congress members. He directed the banking coalition that stopped the Panic of 1907. He was the leading financier of the Progressive Era, and his dedication to efficiency and modernization helped transform American business. Morgan has been described as America’s greatest banker.[1]

Morgan died in Rome, Italy, in his sleep in 1913 at the age of 75, leaving his fortune and business to his son, John Pierpont Morgan Jr.His fortune was estimated at “only” US$80 million, prompting John D. Rockefeller to say: “and to think, he wasn’t even a rich man”.

Henry Ford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the American industrialist. For other uses, see Henry Ford (disambiguation).

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American captain of industry and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.

Although Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line,[1] he developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle class Americans could afford. In doing so, Ford converted the automobile from an expensive curiosity into a practical conveyance that would profoundly impact the landscape of the 20th Century. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. As the owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with “Fordism“: mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently.

Ford was also widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I, and for promoting antisemitism through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent and the book The International Jew.

 

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