Cornelius Vanderbilt A Robber Baron

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Was Cornelius Vanderbilt a Robber Baron or Captain of Industry? A cruel businessman or an industrious leader? Henry J. Raymond believed that Vanderbilt was “a monopolist that crushed other competitors”(T.J Stiles). While he is also deemed one of America’s leading businessmen, and is also credited for helping shape the United States. His fortunes were made unfairly in some cases but his million dollar contribution to the Navy was very generous. Bill Gates was a wealthy man who might have been greedy and only in for the money. He was also a generous man who employed a lot of people and donated $40 million. Most revered critics believe that Cornelius Vanderbilt was a Robber Baron. For example, he was never known to engage in philanthropic activities …show more content…

Some might say that he is not a captain of industry, but there are always two sides to every story. His life is very interesting, as he was a true rags-to-riches story. His parents were farmers, and his father occasionally ferried produce and merchandise between Staten Island and Manhattan. And it was due to this that he gained interest in boats. Eventually, he managed to acquire a fleet of small boats, and through this he was able to acquire his first fortune. Later on, during the Civil War, he donated his finest bought, the Vanderbilt, worth one million dollars, to the U.S. Navy. Though many sources may say that he did not donate it, the vast majority says that he did, in fact, donate the boat. Throughout the 1860s, Vanderbilt shifted his focus over to the railroad industry. Before he acquired multiple railroads, the railroad system was not unified, and therefore had different timetables, costs, and rolling stock. Vanderbilt changed this system, as by unifying multiple railroads, he was able to make the transportation business more efficient and was able to lower costs. Towards the end of his life, unlike Carnegie & Rockefeller, he did not live in glamorous mansions. Even though he did was not exactly known for his philanthropic contributions, he did give one million dollars to build and endow the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, …show more content…

Well, according to most sources, he is most likely a Robber Baron, considering how his business thrived with the withering of others. Of course, apart from being a Robber Baron, he was a terrible father, twice committing his son, Cornelius Jeremiah, to an Asylum, and once even his daughter. There are many examples of Vanderbilt being a Robber Baron, but among the best examples is when his partner, Thomas Gibbons, died. He wanted to buy the company from the son of Gibbons. Interestingly, the son did not want to sell the company. Through aggressive marketing and low fees, he was able to make Gibbons’ son go out of business and be forced to turn over the company. In short, Cornelius Vanderbilt did not have a mixed legacy, as he had virtually nothing positive to work with. Plain and simple, Vanderbilt is and forever will be a robber

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