Cornelius Vanderbilt

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  1. Cornelius Vanderbilt The First Robber Baron -By: Nikko Schaff 2. Childhood  Born May 27th, 1794 on Staten Island  Family owned a large area of farming land on…
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  • 1. Cornelius Vanderbilt The First Robber Baron -By: Nikko Schaff
  • 2. Childhood  Born May 27th, 1794 on Staten Island  Family owned a large area of farming land on the island  Worked on the farm as he grew up  Found more of an interest in the transport and markets in Manhattan
  • 3. Early Career  At age sixteen, made a deal with his mother to plow eight acres for $1,300  Used the money to purchase a sail boat  Began to make a living transporting up to four people a day between the islands  Most of the city was downtown those days, giving him a large market in transport  Contracted by the government to transport supplies to Hudson Bay forts during the War of 1812  Ferry work was still to profitable to give up, so he ferried in the day and transported military supplies in the night  Earned enough to construct two additional ships
  • 4. Successful Events in his Career  1817: Abandoned sails to join a steamboat corporation  1830: United steamboat builders and led their construction and activity  1854: Granted government subsidy for a route between America and England  1854: Cheated by a Nicaraguan company  Stated “Gentlemen, I will not sue you, for the law is too slow. I’ll ruin you”  Created a competing transport company, destroyed Nicaraguan Transit Co.  1864: Bravely piloted a transport to the famous Union ironclad: the Monitor  Saved the Monitor from future destruction
  • 5. Vanderbilt’s Destructive Potential Arises  June 1860: Vanderbilt acquires the Pacific Mail Co.  Gives him control of the majority of east and west coast transport  Government demanded he be granted a partial subsidy for west coast transport to be delivered without customer pay  His losses would have amounted to a quarter million each voyage  In retaliation, he ceased all steamboat transport operations for two weeks  Only restarts activity after the government granted a full subsidy  Therefore, Vanderbilt proved that the lack of government regulation can greatly damage society.
  • 6. How is that Important Today?  Google is the most powerful company in the internet  Stock is worth $500 per share  Acts as the crux of information exchange  Has 28 separate functions, including Gmail and Youtube  Owns a web browser and an operating system (in development)  Imagine a situation where Google reacted similarly…  The internet would largely be inoperative  Businesses requiring Google would crash  A recession would be triggered
  • 7. Late Life  Bought millions in stock of Harlem construction  Made profitable investments in the New York Central Railroad Co.  Near the end of his life, he focused more on railroads throughout the country  Died on January 4th, 1877, at the age of 83
  • 8. Bibliography  1:  2:  3:  4:  5: Commodore Vanderbilt’s Life”. NY Times, 5 January 1877.  6: “Murdering the Mails” NY Times, 3 July 1860  7: “Commodore Vanderbilt Accedes to the Terms of the Government” NY Times, 10 July 1860  8: “ The Pacific Mails and their Master” NY Times, 4 January 1877
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