Many people contributed to America’s industrial revolution. Many of these people were either captains of the industry or robber barons. The nation was often led by honest, hardworking captains of industry. The robber barsons were dishonest, plotting against the country. Jay Gould was one the most prominent robber barsons of that time. Jay Gould became a American railroad executive, financier and speculater, which enabled him to transform his childhood into a lavish, multimillionaire lifestyle.
Gould was the son of an impoverished family in New York in 1836. His father was the owner of a small grocery store. As a child, he couldn’t farm. He went to school and became a New York State surveyor. At the age of 17, he had learned how to survey and started his own company. He was an ambitious and diligent young man. At 19 years of age, he began to create maps and published Delaware County’s 426 pages. He began working on New York City’s few railroads in 1859. Gould acquired the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railways, and the Rutland and Washii Railway over the next eight-year period. He was then appointed manager of the Erie Railroad. At this point, he was Cornelius Vanderbilt’s enemy and he helped James Fisk and William ‘Boss ‘Tweed in their efforts to retain ownership of the railroads. Gould used stock prices to his advantage and sold 100,000 stock shares to Erie Railroads to keep Vanderbilt out of power. He then traveled to Albany, New York to bribe legislators for ‘legalizing’ the act. Vanderbilt soon realized that he had found his match. Vanderbilt settled and received $1million. Gould expanded the Erie Railroad, which led to a huge increase in its debt. Gould also traded in Erie Stock and skillfully made many dollars.” (World Biography). Gould then received the title, robber-baron. Gould met Lord Gordon-Gordon in 1873. He was supposed be helping him. Gordon crashed the stock of Erie Railroad and was found not guilty by the court. He fled to Canada. Gould tried to kidnap him and was captured and imprisoned. Gould wasn’t allowed to have the Erie Railroad anymore, but he still had $25 million in his pocket. He bought stock in other companies. Goud acquired the Pacific Telegraph Company in 1874. In 1879, he purchased the Missouri Pacific Railway.
These two acquisitions gave him control over 10,000-miles railroad. That was about one-ninth US railway distance. He reorganized railroad systems and helped them prosper. Jay Gould was unfortunately killed by tuberculosis in New York City on December 2, 1892. “He was not the man he had been hailed for and is still the most reviled capitalist of American history,” (American History Fats facts).