The Men Who Built America
Two hundred years ago the United States of America was not what it is today. After the original thirteen colonies gained freedom from the U.K. the country continued to grow and prosper; however, it wasn't until after the civil war, when the industrial revolution began, till America began its rise to becoming one of the top economies in the world. This was due to the abundance of businesses that we're started by America's elite. However, some of the people who contributed most to America's rise did not come from wealth.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the wealthiest Americans of the 19th century, was not born with an abundance of money. He worked hard to build the empire he created. As a kid he worked with his father on a ferry that transported goods around New York. After working as a steamboat captain he invested in steamboats and cultivated one of the country's largest steamship operators. He was a fear and ruthless and gained a reputation for it. Vanderbilt also knew potential when he saw it. In the 1860s, he shifted his focus towards railroads and built another empire. His fierceness made him one of the best entrepreneurs in history and when he died he was worth more than $100 million.
Vanderbilt, however, wasn't the only entrepreneur that knew opportunity when they saw it. John D. Rockefeller knew when and how to take risks. Rockefeller knew that oil was the future of America, but he also knew oil was extremely costly to mine. Instead of wasting a fortune on mining oil he went into refining oil and founded the Standard Oil Company. Rockefeller was also innovative and minimized costs by transporting crude oil through pipes rather than train. He, later, started to buy own failing refineries and started an empire. By the 1880s controlled about 90 percent of U.S. refineries and oil pipelines. He was attempting to gain a monopoly in the industry which would allow him to price kerosine at whatever price he wanted. Rockefeller...