Great Fortunes from Railroads

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Rockefeller Other robber barons. Written By: Stephen Schneider. See Article History. John Jacob Astor Among the earliest of the robber barons was John Jacob Astor , a fur magnate who amassed his fortune through the monopoly held by his American Fur Company over the trade in the central and western United States during the first 30 years of the 19th century.

Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Monopoly and competition , basic factors in the structure of economic markets. In economics, monopoly and competition signify certain complex relations among firms in an industry. A monopoly implies an exclusive possession of a market by a supplier of a product or a service for which there is no substitute. Organized crime , complex of highly centralized enterprises set up for the purpose of engaging in illegal activities.

The principal source of income for these criminal syndicates is the supply of…. Prohibition , legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States from to under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment. Although the temperance movement, which was widely supported, had succeeded in bringing about this legislation, millions of Americans were willing to drink liquor…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox!

Newspapers of the era reveled in the fight between the robber barons. The Erie Railroad War came to a bizarre close when Gould and Fisk gained ultimate control of the railroad, pushing Drew to retire while paying back Vanderbilt for his watered down stocks. The station eventually was torn down and replaced by present-day Grand Central Terminal, which opened in Rockefeller , Vanderbilt did not own grand homes or give away much of his vast wealth to charitable causes.

But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie was an American industrialist who amassed a fortune in the steel industry then became a major philanthropist. Carnegie worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory as a boy before rising to the position of division superintendent of the During this era, America became more prosperous and The automobile was first invented and perfected in Germany and France in the late s, though Americans quickly came to dominate the automotive industry in the first half of the twentieth century.

From Rockefeller to Ford, See Forbes' 1918 Ranking Of The Richest People In America

Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques that became standard, and Ford, One of the most powerful bankers of his era, J. John Pierpont Morgan financed railroads and helped organize U.

Cornelius Vanderbilt: Early Years

Steel, General Electric and other major corporations. The Connecticut native followed his wealthy father into the banking business in the late s, The Knights of Labor began as a secret society of tailors in Philadelphia in American statesman Daniel Webster earned fame for his staunch support of the federal government and his skills as an orator. Originally a lawyer, Webster was elected a New Hampshire congressman in He later served as a Massachusetts congressman and senator, Orator and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was known for his deep commitment to the cause of civil rights and emerged as an antislavery leader in the late s.