The period after the Civil War was one of significant economic and technological expansion in the nation and one in which corporations headquartered in Lower Manhattan and Wall Street would obtain a significant hegemony over the American economy.
This was a time in which individual entrepreneurs were running private businesses located on Wall Street. Men such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan were major figures in the country and attained economic power and wealth on a scale previously unknown in United States history.
Much of their wealth was derived exploiting natural resources and technological innovations (notably steam engines, railroads, and oil). It was also largely dependent on the economy’s western expansion and African-American and immigrant labor. These men, who some call “Titans of Industry” and others “Robber Barons,” generally consolidated independent businesses into national enterprises, large monopolies, and multinational corporations. Many of these were headquartered in Lower Manhattan. [Read more…] about Wall Street History: Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Gould, and Morgan