Gilded Age Industrialists: Captain of Industry or Robber Baron?This is a featured page

landerson2010 9/13/08 12:30 p.m.

Cornelius Vanderbilt: Robber Baron

The Vanderbilt University school newspaper was coined The Vanderbilt Hustler after the nickname Cornelius Vanderbilt aquired, "The Hustler" for his crude business practices. Nevertheless, Vanderbilt would be considered a Robber Baron for his few contributions to society. Unlike many other industrialists at the time, Cornelius Vanderbuilt, he didn't believe in giving back to the public or showing his philanthropist ways. After his death, the steamboat and railroad tycoonist only left money for two significant contributions to benefit the people. The Church of Strangers in New York received only $50,000, and Central University in Nashville, Tennessee was given $1 million, and was then renamed Vanderbilt University. Competing with the Rockefellars and their philanthropist methods was one of the only reasons Vanderbilt contributed as much as he did. Although, his donation to Vanderbuilt University was an attempt to help the relationship between the North and South after the Civil War. Upon his death on January 4, 1877, his son, William Vanderbilt was left $95 million, who also was known for his apathetic ways, having said, "the public be damned."

Although, Vanderbilt was known to charge fair prices to his customers, and a developed reputation for honesty, he was relentless with his efforts to control multiple industries throughout his lifetime. Beginning with the ferry business, Vanderbilt gained a government contract to supply the forts around New York City, and received the nickname, "Commodore" for operating sailing schooners. His ruthless business practices began during his time with steamboats, after cutting his prices to compete with Robert Fulton & Livingston, who had received a legal monopoly on steamboat traffic from the New York legislation. After avoiding being arrested, Vanderbilt continued his method of cutting his prices to beat out the monopolistic company of the region. When Vanderbilt began his railroad empire, he first overturned Daniel Drew and gained control of the New York and Harlem Railroad, and next bought Drew out again with the Hudson River Railroad. By buying every stock Drew sold to make a profit, Vanderbilt stablized the prices and took over, and that was only the beginning. While improving the efficency of the railroad with new technology like the standard gauge, and increasing the capital stock, the empire of Vanderbilt grew to the point where he controlled around 20 railroad systems. Cornelius Vanderbilt didn't build these elaborate systems of transportation to benefit the people, didn't even do it for the money, but for the feeling of dominating it all.
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Anthony J. Drexel Response: Emily Conners (EConners) Sept. 14, 2008 2:46 pm

Drexel reading Scribner's Magazine, [circa 1893]
Anthony J. Drexel: Captain of Industry

Drexel was a prominent banker, financier, and philanthropist. His father, Francis Martin Drexel, was an artist-turned-banker and eventually founded Drexel and Company, a banking company. At the ripe age of 13, he began working at the company and later became a partner in the firm, at the age of 21. This family run company made a large sum of money by the financial opportunities created by the gold finds in the West. The company also made money with their involvement of financial deals with the federal government during the Mexican and Civil Wars. A.J., as he was known, and his brothers took full control of the company in 1863, when their father passed away. Soon they partnered with J.P. Morgan, as Natsumi mentioned on the "Industrialists" page, and expanded their business. In his later years, he was influenced by his faith to donated money to Christian hospitals, and institution which cared for the poor. His niece, who would eventual be canonized as a saint, Katharine Drexel, encouraged him to create a university that would be an industrial school. A.J. gave 3 million dollars in 1891 to found Drexel Univeristy. He strived to make it a school open to all, regardless of gender, religion, or social status. A.J. Drexel died two years after the dedication of Drexel University's main building. His contributions have been called, “princely gifts, worthy of the giver…and of the high causes of art and science and industry to which they are dedicated.”
Drexel would be classified as a Captain of Industry in the banking field because his knowledge and intellect led him to create one of the most successul banking firms in American history. He is frequently called (although incorrect) the "Man Who Made Wall Street" (his territory was down in Philadelphia's Third Street financial district). Drexel's shy, quiet persona however, makes labeling him as a robber baron incorrect. He did not try to control all finances, but instead helped his own company trive through acceptable, legal deals. He also dissapproved of public accolades, self-promotion, and publicity and even once turned down Ulysses S. Grant's request to become the Secretary of the Treasury. His business know-how provided him with enough success to not have to turn to corrupt workings. This makes Anthony J. Drexel a Captain of Industry in the banking field.

Response to Johns Hopkins- TJ Chambers (tjchambers5) Sept. 14, 2008 7:00 pm

Johns Hopkins HospitalCaptain of Industry or Robber Baron?

Johns Hopkins, much like Carnegie, came from very humble beginnings. He was not even able to complete his education as he and his brothers had to help work on the family farm after his father set their slaves free. However, over the course of a lifetime, he would become one of the richest men of the 1800's, along with one of the most charitable men ever. After moving to Baltimore, MD and working for his uncle, Hopkins developed his own business plan which would later prove very successful. Along with banking and ship owning, the key to his strategy was investing heavily in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first major railroad in America. He sought to build the company up and establish Baltimore as a commercial center. As more and more businesses were attracted to Baltimore, the B&O Railroad started to succeed and Hopkins began reaping in the benefits.

However, it isn't how Hopkins acquired his wealth that we remember him by but rather how he decided to use his wealth for the better of the community. As Emily mentioned, namesake institutions like Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital were created from Hopkins' generous donations established in his will. He also contributed to the John Hopkins School of Nursing, John Hopkins Press, and the John Hopkins Colored Children Orphan Asylum. In total, his will gave over $7 million dollars to these institutions, the single largest donation to educational institutions at the time and something no selfish "Robber Baron" would ever do. He also made sure to set up a scholarship program to help deserving students from Virginia and Maryland who were too poor to attend college. Much of his educational contributions can be traced back to his childhood, when he was not given the chance to finish his own education as I mentioned above. Hopkins also supported a local painter, Alfred Jacob Miller, who was eventually able to travel to Europe and continue his artistic training. Furthermore, Hopkins ended up saving Baltimore several times by donating $500,000 to keep public services operating during the Civil War and giving out interest-free loans during the Panic of 1873. Although Hopkins did become extremely wealthy through his investments, this "Captain of Industry" led a corruption free business and was glad to give back to the community which had given him so much. To label Johns Hopkins, who was one of the most respected industrialists of the Gilded Age, as a "Robber Baron" would be an insult to all philanthropists.


Jen Yeager (did not need to stake claim) 9/14/08

Johns Hopkins: CaptJohns Hopkinsain of Industry

Johns Hopkins was a philanthropist businessman whose charitable donations are still well-known today and continue to benefit society. Johns Hopkins amassed his fortune by his natural talents as a businessman, including banking, and beneficial investments in real estate. He also made smart investments in the B&O Railroad, adding to his wealth. Hopkins deserves the title “Captain of Industry” because of his philanthropic use of his acquired money as well as his regard for the best interest of society. Upon Hopkins death, he left 7 million dollars, mainly in railroad stock, to fund the establishment of The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. This 7 million dollar donation was the largest donation to education at the time. Johns Hopkins also funded the creation of The Johns Hopkins Colored Children Orphan Asylum, The Johns Hopkins Press, The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Furthermore, Hopkins gave to society not only by the various organizations that don his name, but also by investing in individuals who were unable to receive loans from the bank. Throughout his life, Johns Hopkins was also an advocate of abolitionism and a devout Quaker. He ensured that all members of society recieved the help they needed regardless of their sex, age, or color. Hopkins led a life of high morals and was an inspiration to many. His large charitable donations set the framework of future philanthropy and led to the creation of many organizations and establishments to benefit the public.

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M_Lee 9/14/08 6:41 PM

Throughout his industrial career, Henry Clay Frick proved that he was essentially a “robber baron.” During the 1837 financial panic, Frick took the opportunity to buy out his competitors and ally himself with Carnegie Steel. He was known for being an aggressive industrialist, often tyrannically dealing with his workers and unions to increase his profits. In response to the declining prices of rolled-steel products, he took forceful steps to protect his company by lowering workers’ wages, removing workers from their company houses, ending negotiations with union leaders, and threatening to bring in the Pinkerton detectives. Similar with what Michael had mentioned about the 1892 labor strike at Homestead Works of the Carnegie Steel Company, Frick used the strategy of lockouts, strikebreakers, and calling in federal authorities to suppress the opposition, which contrasted with Carnegie’s intention of eliminating unions. This event contributed to Frick’s anti-union and anti-worker stance, so that he could always be having a flow of income (he made himself a millionaire by age 30). Carnegie, who had instructed him to not use strikebreakers, was furious with Frick. Their differing responses to the strike and growing conflict between the two leaders for control led to Frick’s resignation in 1899 from his chairman position of the company.

Anarchists of the time witnessed the struggles of working people to survive, which would have made a robber baron like Frick to be a natural target. This explains why Alexander Berkman attempted to assassinate Frick, but Frick’s concern for his company’s success is evident in his response: “I do not think I will die,” he gasped, “but whether I do or not, the Company will pursue the same policy, and it will win.”

The Frick CollectionHenry Clay Frick had amassed an enormous fortune of $50 million during his lifetime, and five-sixths of it was donated to charitable organizations so that his name would not be disgraced. He had actually considered of building a public museum in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park to house his significant art collection, and Beechwood Boulevard was intended to be used as the grand entrance. Nevertheless, in 1905, Frick moved his family and collected works to New York because he wanted to avoid the air pollution of Pittsburgh’s industries! He bought an entire city block to construct a mansion to house The Frick Collection and concerned with his own wealth, boasted to friends he was building it to “make Carnegie’s place look like a miner’s shack.” He contributed his huge New York mansion and his prized art collection to the city as a museum in his death will. Frick also donated a portion of his wealth to hospitals, universities, and schools, but evidently, his philanthropic accomplishments were done in hopes of concealing his “robber baron” past.










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Kristin Lambert 9/15/08 6:53 p.m.

James J. Hill: Captain of Industry

James J. HillAptly named the “Empire Builder” because of the large region of land and railroad lines that he controlled, James J. Hill ascended from humble origins to the top of his industry.

At the age of 14, Hill was forced to drop out of school to support his newly widowed mother, working in a grocery store for minimal pay. Additionally, young Hill found work in the farming, shipping, fur-trading, steamship and railroad industries. These early adventures in diverse industries helped him acquire money to become an investor in his own enterprise. Likewise, his adolescent skill with mathematics would eventually benefit his astute and successful business endeavors.

James Hill can be considered a Captain of Industry (1) as opposed to a robber baron for several reasons; one being his unique appreciation for and fair treatment of customers. Unlike other business tycoons of the Gilded Age, Hill did not take advantage of his customers, but rather selflessly catered to them. Hill made every attempt to cut costs in his business and to pass on the lower rates to consumers. His reasoning for these cost reductions being that his success was directly linked with the success of his customers. He in fact even adopted this sentiment with his motto, “We have got to prosper with you or we have got to be poor with you.” This motto just further exemplifies Hill’s lack of obsession with amassing a fortune, unlike other Gilded Age moguls, and his interest in helping the masses.

Hill also can be considered a Captain of Industry because of his charitable deeds in assisting farmers. Specifically, he donated seed, grain, and cattle to farmers who had been affected by drought and depression. Additionally, Hill generously advised farmers on how to conquer price instability in the agriculture market by diversifying their crops. Hill explained that by cultivating more than one item they could avoid becoming dependent on one sole crop and therefore financially doomed. Furthermore, Hill hoarded wood and other forms of fuel near his train depots so farmers making deliveries could grab free supplies for their own use. Finally, Hill donated land to the public domains such as towns, parks, schools, churches, and libraries. Distinctively, Hill founded the Saint Paul Seminary and the James J. Hill Reference Library, which still exist today.


(1) One who increases the productivity and expansion of markets as well as job opportunities. Captain’s of Industry generally also indulge in philanthropic acts.

The Truth About "Robber Barons" Click the link to view a webpage that defends Gilded Age business men such as James Hill from critics who claim they were robber barons as opposed to captains of industry.

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Michelle Eider and Jen Yeager 9/14/08 7:28 PM
Response to John D. Rockefeller

rockefellerThroughout Rockefeller’s career as a dictator of the oil industry, Rockefeller continued to heartlessly obliterate small firm competitors in order to inflate his already enormous empire. Rockefeller’s cruel domination of the oil industry in his quest to monopolize secured Rockefeller the fitting title of “Robber Baron.” Rockefeller began his legacy with the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. He strategically chose Ohio so he could remove middlemen from his industry and demolish competition. As Rockefeller’s thriving Standard Oil Company began to monopolize the industry, business ethics were nearly nonexistent and industrialists like Rockefeller just barely followed laws to the minimum. By 1877, Rockefeller ruled the oil industry by controlling 95% of the nation’s oil refineries. He viewed big business as a survival-of-the-fittest scenario in which he had no problem mercilessly weeding out the competition. Rockefeller also resorted to spies and extortion to influence the railroads to work in his favor by offering him kickbacks and rebates. Further, Rockefeller pioneered the trust system and continued it despite the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Rockefeller’s business tactics illustrated his greed as well as his general disregard for others that classifies him as a “Robber Baron.”

Rockefeller’s strict Baptist upbringing was evident in his philanthropy. From his very first job, Rockefeller donated ten percent of his paycheck to the Baptist church, and continued supporting various Baptist charities and schools, like Denison University, throughout his lifetime. He was known for his support of higher education, donating money to numerous colleges and universities. He funded a school for African American women called Spelman College, and donated $80 million to the University of Chicago. In addition, he provided funds to schools including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. He also advocated the study of medicine, founding the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Furthermore, he donated $250 million to the Rockefeller Foundation, which he created to aid public health, medicine and the arts. But for all his good deeds, it seems as if his philanthropy was done more out of guilt for those he crushed climbing the ladder of success. He was known for giving out dimes to children when they passed him, an ostentatious practice that seemed more like a way of mocking those less fortunate than him. During the Great Depression, he downgraded to giving out nickels, which hardly seems necessary for the richest man in the world. Also, his philosophies were the cynical results of years of ruthless business maneuvers. He once said, “The day of combination is here to stay. Individualism has gone, never to return.” He also only donated to charities which he deemed worthy of his funding, avoiding “inefficient” schools and programs which could really benefit from his wealth. Both his ruthless business methods and contradictory stance on charity make him the true definition of a robber baron.


mfazio September 15, 2008 4:20 pm

Andrew Carnegie: Captain of Industry

Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie was a “captain of industry” for his generous philanthropic contributions and business practices that revolutionized the steel industry. Carnegie asserted his belief of the need for philanthropic contributions in his 1889 essay, “The Gospel of Wealth.” He stated that the accumulation of wealth by a few was inevitable in a capitalistic society. However, he believed that it was the obligation of the wealthy entrepreneurs to distribute their fortunes responsibly, rather than frivolously wasting it. Carnegie practiced his philosophy by dedicating the rest of his life to distributing the large fortune he had accumulated. Carnegie provided funds to establish libraries across the nation. These “Carnegie libraries” were part of his vision of a society based on merit, where any citizen of any class could better himself with hard work and the right resources. He also wanted the libraries to serve as an affordable means of knowledge for immigrants because he empathized with these new citizens. Carnegie built New York City’s Carnegie Hall, one of the most famous venues in the nation for classical and popular music. He provided financing to establish Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology, which would later become part of the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. Furthermore, he advocated improved educational opportunities for blacks, as shown when he generously donated capital to establish the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After retiring, Carnegie also established large pension funds for his employees and college professors. The latter program would eventually evolve into TIAA-CREF, one of the country’s largest financial services companies. Although most of the major industrialists found ways to give back to society, Carnegie was unique in that he was very specific in the programs he donated to. By contributing to programs or institutions involved in social and educational advancement, Carnegie afforded the citizens the necessary tools to become successful, without actually giving them the money.

With regard to his business practices, Andrew Carnegie was a “captain of industry,” with his shrewd, yet innovative policies. To begin with, Carnegie was not a monopolist and disliked monopolistic trusts. Rather than overtaking his competitors like Rockefeller did, Carnegie chose to merge every phase of the steel-making operation into his business with a revolutionary system known as “vertical integration.” When the finished product left the factory, only Carnegie’s hands had touched it. This system resulted in a reliable product because Carnegie was able to monitor the quality and efficiency of each phase. In addition, many “robber barons” took advantage of railroad and shipping businesses, the middlemen, by demanding lower rates. However, Carnegie used his own middlemen businesses, thus eliminating these unjust practices. Carnegie expanded the steel industry because although others had used the Bessemer Process to manufacture a stronger steel, he was the first to utilize it on such a grand scale. The Carnegie Steel Company lifted the nation to the status of a global industrial giant. Also, his factories in western Pennsylvania provided jobs for many, and although the wages were often low, it was a modest beginning for many immigrants and freshmen to the new industrial world. After he made his fortune, this “captain of industry” attempted to indirectly assist the citizens of the new working class with his charitable donations, as he gave them the power to shape their future.



Response to Jay Gould: Diana Jolly, 09.14.08. 9:25 PM
Jay Gould: the man who tried to capture the gold market, the man who robbed the railroads: the man who can be nothing other than a “Robber Baron.” GGilded Age Industrialists: Captain of Industry or Robber Baron? - Mrs. Roman's Wiki Spaceould started his career of illegal actions under the wing of Boss Tweed and his crime ring. Here, Gould laid the foundation for all his later plots. He first tried to corner the gold market with the help of Jim Fisk, and after that, turned to railroading, becoming perhaps the most notorious railroad baron of all. Gould was exceptionally infamous for his usage of stock-watering to increase his money intake. Gould’s devious schemes easily proved that he was untrustworthy, and his infamous notoriety even drew the attention of political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who drew Gould, Boss Tweed, and other “criminals” facing justice. Jay Gould was one of the industrialists who did not take Andrew Carnegie’s words to heart, and did not participate in philanthropic acts whatsoever. Every financial gain Gould made was for his own personal benefit, for he never tried to help anyone around him. Because of Gould’s selfish greed, he can be known as none other than a robber baron, perhaps the most corrupt, notorious, and infamous robber baron of them all.


Henry Morrison Flagler: Captain of Industry
Jonathan Yu (yumigator) September 14, 2008 10:00PM

Henry Morrison FlaglerHenry Morrison Flagler was an American businessman well-known for his role in developing Florida. He conducted his work honestly, and he was well-intentioned. A rags-to-riches story, Flagler attained his wealth through his hard work and foresight.

Upon moving to Florida, Flagler established hotels and railroads which had previously been missing there. Unlike many other railroad builders and owners, Flagler was not involved in any unethical business dealings. He did not bribe any officials during construction; instead, the land was obtained fairly. Some of it was even given to him by individuals and companies that wanted the railroad built.

Though not a huge philanthropist, Flagler did prove himself to be charitable. When developing Florida, instead of only doing what would earn him the most money, he committed himself to improving the quality of life of the people. In Miami, he built streets and power and water systems. In addition, he founded the first newspaper. However, when the town was to be named after him, Flagler humbly declined the honor. Also, he was of great assistance to farmers during a freeze in 1894, by generously providing financial help to those whose crop was destroyed.

Henry Morrison Flagler was a captain of industry, not a robber baron. He was largely responsible for developing Florida into the tourist-driven economy it is today and was one of the great businessmen of his time. He was also one of the few railroad owners who were liked by the majority of the population. Although he was not as much of a philanthropist as some others of his time, he did not use dishonest business tactics, and he built up his wealth legitimately.


Sohams19 10:31 p.m 9/14/08

Samuel Brannan- Captain of Industry



Gilded Age Industrialists: Captain of Industry or Robber Baron? - Mrs. Roman's Wiki Space

Samuel Brannan was most famous for his business in newspapers. When he had lived in the Eastern U.S.A, he had made a Mormon newspaper called The Prophet. The paper was successful with the Mormon community and Brannan rose up the church ranks because of it. After him and his fellow Mormons were persecuted in the east, he began to move west and eventually landed in San Francisco. While in San Francisco, Brannan started two notable newspapers. One was called The California Star. The other was called The Californian. Because the two newspapers were successful, he combined them and entitled the new mega newspaper The Alta Californian. Through his newspapers, Brannan was said to have been a big factor in so many people coming to California for the Gold Rush. When Brannan, saw that the area was going to be swarmed with people he marked up the prices in a store that he owned that was in San Francisco. The store was the only store in the area of its kind. Brannan was extremely successful because of the large amount of people that came to the area. The new people that came of the area created a new group of customers that shopped at Brannan’s store. It also created many more readers for his newspaper. After the influx of people in the area, Brannan thought of new businesses that he could establish to make money and convenience the people in the area. Brannan set up many banks for the miners to use. He also set up telegraph and express companies. Brannan also provided information to many of the newcomers regarding agriculture in the area. Samuel Brannan was an integral part of the development of the San Francisco area. However, many people did accuse Brannan of stealing money from donations meant for the Mormon Church. None of these accusations were confirmed though. A few years after the main wave of settlers came to the city, San Francisco had become a lawless place. Brannan set up a volunteer law enforcement agency and a volunteer fire department to help restore order in the city. He also pushed for railroads to come to San Francisco and other public service to take root in the city. Unfortunately for Brannan, he would eventually go into financial ruin. He would gain some of his money back from the Mexican Government, but would die penniless. In summary, Brannan was a man who had followed the rules of business to make his fortune. He saw places where business opportunities were and made loads of money out of that. His philanthropic actions show that he was man who cared about his community. With his prosperity also came the prosperity of his city. That’s why he was a captain of industry.



Natsumi Ishikawa (natsumi.i) 9/14/08 11:30 pm

John Pierpont Morgan: Captain of Industry v. Robber Baron

john pierpont morgan

Though JP Morgan is undoubtedly remembered for being a prominent American financer, who had even saved the U.S. national economy in 1895, the means that JP Morgan sometimes used to gain money and power make him a robber baron of his time.

One prime example is when in 1861 that Morgan created a scam that would shadow his carrier forever. In the 1850’s the U.S. Army had condemned many rifles as obsolete and damaged and they were sold at an auction at cheap prices. In 1861, JP Morgan purchased some 5,000 of these dangerous weapons for $3.50 a piece, and then sold these defective weapons back to the Army at $22 each. From this scam, JP Morgan was able to gain a small fortune of $92,500.

By the early 1900’s, Morgan was the main force behind the Trusts and controlled nearly all the basic American Industries. JP Morgan was often criticized for creating monopolies that made it extremely difficult for businesses to compete with his. The government had become concerned with Morgan’s monopoly in the steel industry and in 1911 filed suit against the company. A congressional investigation by the Pujo Committee in 1912 soon followed, and JP Morgan testified before the U.S. Senate and denied that there was a “money trust”, and then continued on with his monopoly.

JP Morgan was an avid collector of art, books, and gems. Owning one of the most significant collections of his time, he donated his art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (of which he was president and was a major force in its establishment) in his later years. His collection of written works was donated to the Morgan Library, which is located in New York City. JP Morgan had also been one of America’s most important gem collectors and Tiffany & Co. assembled his first collection, which was exhibited at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889. Many of these collections have been donated to the American Museum of Natural History in NY where they are known as the Morgan-Tiffany collections. During his lifetime, he contributed to the New York Botanical Garden, the American Museum of Natural History, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was also a benefactor of the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Groton School, Harvard University, Trinity College, and many more.

Bioturk ( Timur Ozekcin) 9/15/08 9:01 p.m.
Amasa Leland Stanford
Throughout the economic history of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, high level businessmen have been called different names due to how they ran their vast “empires”; captains of industry or robber barons were the names usually given to them. Now, Leland Stanford was a very wealthy man during the peak of his business career during the late 1890’s, but was certainly not a robber baron. Without a doubt, he contributed to society in many ways and can be considered an admiral philanthropist because he built several public libraries and schools throughout the nation. Two of his most famous libraries were built in Port Washington, Wisconsin and in Sacramento, California, where he lived most of his adult life.
One of the most important aspects of Stanford in the business world was his ability to bring in jobs and cut his losses. While leading the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, Stanford was able to bring in large numbers of Chinese immigrants to work for a pretty low cost, which allowed him to build the massive railroad faster and less costly in the end. His idea about business was pretty straight forward and he tried not to get himself involved in a lot of the corruption that plagued many other businessmen. Stanford was successful in establishing many different types of industries that did not involve railroads, such as wine making. Creating one of the largest wineries in the entire world, Stanford expanded his entrepreneurship while at the same time spending a decent amount of time refining the techniques of railroad building. He learned that people had to build up from the bottom and not just try to start at the top when conducting business. Throughout his life this idea of money making stayed with him and he was considered one of the many “Captains of Industries” during his time.
Gilded Age Industrialists: Captain of Industry or Robber Baron? - Mrs. Roman's Wiki Space


Emily Seltzer. 15.9.08, 9:50
Jay Cooke: Captain of Industry.
Jay Cooke Jay Cooke, widely known as the financier of the Civil War for his major part in securing billions of dollars in loans to finance the North’s part Civil War, began banking about twenty years before the Civil War. Eventually becoming a partner in the company where he started out as a clerk, he was skilled enough to move through the ranks and eventually start his own company. He also became involved in the railroads, aiding the rehabilitation of some abandoned ones in Pennsylvania, and becoming a major investor in the Northern Pacific Railroad, taking from his own pocket to help finance the venture. When the Panic of 1873 struck, it left the Northern Pacific and Jay almost completely dried up, although he quickly rebuilt his fortune through his investment in a silver mine and stayed wealthy until his death soon after the turn of the century.

Jay Cooke was not a robber baron, although he also wasn’t as avid a philanthropist as many other Captains of Industry of his age. Aside from the aid he supplied to the government in the introduction of war bonds, which have been utiilized in all wars since, he found other ways to help the nation and smaller communities. He supposedly was a devout Christian, and by tithing regularly he helped support the construction of several Episcopal churches. Later, he converted one of his repossessed estates, which he later repurchased, into a girls’ school. Another of his residences, located on an island near the harbor of Put-in-Bay, Ohio, provided a retreat for clergy when his extended family and assorted others weren’t occupying it. Overall, Cooke’s generally positive use of his money allowed him to be grouped as a Captain of Industry.


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