Wednesday, April 3, 2013

             Cornelius Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt background

The Vanderbilt's emigrated from Holland around 1650, and the family kept growing as a well known family. It wasn't until Cornelius Vanderbilt's lifetime that the family's name became known for extraordinary wealth. With 13 children, 37 grand children, and 27 great-grandchildren, Cornelius established the Biltmore mansion that was known as the Vanderbilt Custom of Luxurious Residences. When he died, he left his 100 million dollar estate with his oldest son, Henry. The home kept getting passed down through many generations. Today, Biltmore is a place to explore in Asheville, North Carolina.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cornelius' impact socially and economically.

He was a highly competitive businessman who had sharp powers of judgement. First on the nation's waterways, he managed to lower prices and improve quality. Then he did the same on land. Today, people still use his railroad lines and stations that were built over 100 years ago, but the steamships are no longer reliable. During the U.S. Civil War, Vanderbilt donated his largest and fastest steamship, built around 1 million dollars, to the Union Navy. It was used to chase down Confederate raiders.

                                                       Railroad lines still being used today!

                                                              Fall River Line Steamship

Working Life

In mid to late 1800's, Cornelius Vanderbilt was the wealthiest man in the United States and the greatest of the nineteenth century railroad barons. He started working at the age of 16, and through a 66-year career, he kept building his businesses from sailing and steamboats, shipping and purchasing railroad companies, and building the Grand Central Terminal to finally donating 1 million dollars to Central University which is now named after him.

What he did to contribute to America:

  • Helped drive the transportation revolution
  • Magnified the California gold rush
  • Pioneered the modern business corporation
  • Contributed to the birth of big business in America              
Of his death in 1877, he was known to be the wealthiest man in history. He was also highly controversial and sparked a public debate over opportunity, equality, and the role of government that continues today.