Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA

Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA

American lords of XIX-XX centuries, which pejoratively called “barons-bandits”, created powerful empires and generated biggest-ever wealth. Many of these people got their money via either workers or unfair methods that were considered in the same way that time already.
Nevertheless, these “barons” mostly spent their money to build hospitals, university, libraries and museums that are operating till now.
As disputes on moral and business operations are still in full play, it is a good opportunity to look at cruel business sharks that built up and ruled America.

John Jacob Astor
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
John Jacob Astor was the first billionaire in America as well as the first to create a monopoly. At long last he established American Fur Company that is considered as the first business-monopoly in America.
For some time Astor smuggled opium to China loading and transporting it in holds of his company’s vessels despite ban imposed by China’s government 20 years before.
His heritage included huge amount of money. According to the will, the funds were spent for establishment of public library – Astor Library.

Cornelius Vanderbilt
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
Cornelius Vanderbilt dominated in shipping business in Long Island as well as built his wealth in railroads around New York. Vanderbilt, also called as “Commodore” bought his first small ferry on credit when he was 16. He borrowed $100, while an average salary was some $1.5 per week. In the future that investment transformed into one of the largest shipping empires in the world.
Before the war, Cornelius sold its shipping business and invested into railroads that made him the wealthiest person in the USA by the end of war hostilities. However, the war took the most valuable – his son resulting in further alcoholic depressions.
Some time passed and Vanderbilt took over railroads around New York and opened the central railway station in New York – Grand Central Depot. Notably, Cornelius donated $1 million annually to the university named after him. It was opened in 1873.
Interesting fact. Once in the letter to his rivals, Vanderbilt wrote: “Gentlemen. You have undertaken to cheat me. I will not sue you, for law is too slow. I will ruin you.”

Jay Cooke
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
Jay Cooke was known for financing the Union (southern slavery states) during the American Civil War (1861-1865). He gathered wealth from his own banking house called Cooke & Co opened in 1861. Soon after the war began, he borrowed to Pennsylvania $3 million (in bonds). Later, US Ministry of Finance invited him to sell bonds for $500 million in total. For that deal he received really good commission.
However, in the time of economic crisis and panics of 1873, Jay Cooke become out of business. Though he returned in 1880 after successful investment into silver mines in Utah.

James Buchanan Duke
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
James Buchanan Duke was the locomotive of the cigarette industry. In due time, he obtained license for use the world’s first automatic mill for industrial cigar wrapping. The mechanism invented by James Albert Bonsack significantly sped up the cigar production, compared to manual wrapping. This resulted in bigger sales revenues.
Duke was also an inventor in advertising in certain way. Specifically, he offered free samples of his cigars to immigrants expecting them to come back as solvent buyers later. By 1889 his produced some 45% of overall cigars output in the USA. Later that year, after a merger and creation of American Tobacco Company, the share of the market hiked to 90%. It was a monopoly. In 1924 Duke established a private fund that financed the Trinity College renamed into Duke University afterwards.

Andrew Carnegie
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
Andrew Carnegie established Carnegie Steel Company and donated 90% of his revenue in the future. His stepped on his road to success in 13, when found a job at the factory and got $1.2 per week. He had to work to help the family after relocation to the USA.
The first wealth he built in railroads, while then invested into steel. Steel was used to produce rails and rail cars. One plant Carnegie Steel Company gradually turned into the empire with daily output reaching 2,000 t of metal, which exceeded producing countries in Europe.
An interesting case occurred in 1892, when the company attempted to reduce salary and faced worker strike, called Homestead Strike. Despite Carnegie’s leaving, he was heavily criticized.
Andrew Carnegie is also known as philanthropist. He set up a public library in New York, Carnegie-Mellon University and Carnegie Fund for International Peace.

John D. Rockefeller
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
In cooperation with his brother and Henry Morrison Flagler, Rockefeller created Standard Oil Company 1870. The company very quickly turned into a big monopoly covering some 90% of US market of refineries and pipelines. In 1880s yellow sheets journalists named it – octopus. Moreover, Standard Oil Company developed its own barrels for transportation and hired experts to find new ways of using oil by-products.
Rockefeller left business in mid-1890s. Over $500 million was donated for education, religion and prospect areas, including establishment of a university in Chicago. Besides, he also set up Rockefeller Sanitary Commission that worked on reduction of infection degree and lowering of ascarid population in the southern states. Caught in violation of the antimonopoly law Standard Oil was disbanded in 1911 by the order of the US Supreme Court.
Interesting fact.
Rockefeller celebrated his second birthday annually on September 26. This is the date when at the age of 16 he got the first job as an assistant of accountant.

J.P. Morgan
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
The grey figure John Pierpont Morgan was the great financial expert that saved the White House one time ago. Morgan participated in reorganization and consolidation of railroads after the industry became glutted. On that case he hooked in huge amount of shares. Besides, Morgan contributed to the merger of General Electrics and consolidation of US Steel in 1892.
Notably, the USA had no central bank and it was John Morgan who helped to save the golden standard of America via giving more than $60 million in loan to the US government. Moreover, he also helped to overcome the crisis of 1907.
Interesting fact.
Well-known “Jingle Bells” song was written by Morgan’s uncle – James Pierpont. It was actually dedicated to the Thanks Given day, but after the first debut was considered as the complete fail.

Andrew Mellon
Barons-bandits that built up and ruled USA
This person is known in the US history for his big coke and aluminium plants. Andrew Mellon was successful financial expert who granted capital to different corporations, including steel, oil, coal and coke sectors. He assisted in setting up Aluminum Company of America, Gulf Oil Company, and Union Steel Company. Besides, he was a secretary of the US Treasury. Being in the office Mellon managed to reduce the federal debt after the World War I as well as reform fiscal system. His actions brought fruits, but the Great Depression boosted the debt to the previous size.
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