The 1800s were a time of great business opportunities. During this time, the industries of steel, oil, and transportation expanded rapidly. Some of the major competitors in these enterprises, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt set out into the world with nothing and continued on to monopolize entire industries. Though these monopolies helped them to gain a lot, the economy suffered in a major way. Since these men were earning so much money and taking many jobs, they left little opportunity for others to get jobs to support their families.
These three men used their great minds to advance themselves, and in the process they advanced the country. Cornelius Vanderbilt was the first of the three to create a monopoly. He became involved in boating and made many other boat owners realize that “the future of shipping belonged to steam rather than sail” (Klien 1). Until Vanderbilt had made the business of steamships so big, other people started to use steamships more than sailboats. This was a major step in the advancement of faster, cheaper transportation.
Vanderbilt was able to make millions even though he started with nothing. His story is a classic example of ‘rags to riches’. Such stories tend to be about a very poor person who works hard and becomes rich because of his effort. Vanderbilt began by borrowing money from his mother to start a business. When his business grew, he was able to pay his mother back and use the rest of his money to buy more steam driven boats. Within eight years, he cleared so much profit that he had a solid future ahead of him. After employing himself for all this time, he was hired by a man named Thomas Gibbons. Vanderbilt worked well for Gibbons and earned a great reputation. Cornelius created his own big business in 1829. Vanderbilt hired people to run his boats, sold his boats, and decided to “design larger, faster and more luxurious models” (Klien 2).
Cornelius Vanderbilt continued to create these boats...