The Men Who Built America

1267 words 6 pages
Much credit was given to six men, for creating the foundation of America. The first 4

were Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan. Through

shipping and trains, oil and its development, steel and construction, and corporate finance,

these men constructed the foundation of our country. Through their careers, these men saw

much change during prosperous times that effected business then and ultimately in the long

run.

Cornelius Vanderbilt was an American industrialist and philanthropist. His claim to

fame and fortune was through shipping and railroads, becoming one of the richest men in

American history. Vanderbilt took an interest in railroads in the 1850's
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In order to keep production moving smoothly at

Homestead, Carnegie left it up to his general manager, Henry Frick to cut wages and break

the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel workers, one of the strongest craft unions in

the country. Frick's job was to produce as much armor plate as possible before the union's

contract ran out in the middle of summer. Frick cut wages and extended work hours through

brutal, unsafe working conditions. 3,000 of 3,800 of the workers at Homestead went on

strike. Frick responded by barricading the plant but the workers still gathered and guarded

the plant that Frick had blocked them out of. Soon Frick turned to enforcers to clear the

workers from the plant by threatening to shoot. Shots were fired and after 14 hours of gunfire

and the union's retaliation, 9 workers were left dead or dying, but they claimed victory (PBS.org). These small changes that Carnegie had Fisk make, were changes that ultimately

ruined his reputation but also affected the people who worked for his company.

J.P. Morgan was an infamous banker, philanthropist and dominated in corporate

finance at his time. What was well known as “Morganization” was Morgan's process of taking

over troubled businesses. He would do this by reorganizing businesses' structure and

management in order to return them to profitability. In 1892, Morgan arranged a merger

between Edison General

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