Cornelius Vanderbilt Essay

2176 Words 9 Pages
The want for wealth saturates everyone’s mind at one point or another. Almost everyone dreams of having the large mansion near the beach, the multiple cars, etc., but this money does not just come, it either has to be inherited or earned. During the 1800s, most wealth was inherited, but there were a few self-made men that worked their way from the bottom to the top in order to become wealthy. One man in particular influenced wealthy men to come like Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller. He was able to begin many of the ideas brought about during the Gilded Age because not only was he a major influence in society, but he greatly changed the economy and the industries he was involved in during that time. Lastly, he modernized commerce for …show more content…
Vanderbilt was the first businessman in America to try to monopolize other businesses by creating lower prices. This enabled him to become wealthy because the lower his prices went the more customers he gained. Once other companies found that they could also lower their prices, it added more competition for Vanderbilt, so he had to begin to create trusts. During the Gold Rush in California, many people went by sea to go from the East Coast to the West Coast. At the time Vanderbilt had the lowest prices and he was putting many other steamboat companies out of business; so “The Steamboat Association threw in the towel and bought him out. For $100,000 and an annual payment of $5,000 for ten years, Vanderbilt agreed to withdraw from the Hudson River market.”2 By making other steamboat companies pay him rent to stay out of the industry, he was still becoming extremely wealthy without having to do any work. Even though Vanderbilt was extremely wealthy, he was very cautions with his money and only spent it when he knew something was a strong investment that would get him more powerful. During the Gold Rush, the other steamboat industries used the Panama Canal in order to get to
Open Document