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The Men Who Built America Episode 1 Answers – A New War Begins
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The Men Who Built America Episode 1 Answers – MCQs
Q. What nickname does Cornelius Vanderbilt acquire and how does he acquire it? (First 5 minutes)
Ans: The commodore
Q. What risk does Vanderbilt take at the height of his shipping career just before the Civil War?
Ans: Sells all ships and moves everything into railroads
Q. How does Vanderbilt acquire nearly half of all the railroads across America? (You’ll have to summarize the first 20 min of the video so pay attention!)
Ans: Closes Albany Bridge when deals can’t be made with competitors (shuts off NYC to rest of country), competitors try to sell their shares, triggers massive sell-off, he buys them up, creates largest single railroad company in America.
Q. What big project (the biggest urban project in America up to that time) does Vanderbilt create in New York City?
Ans: Builds Grand Central Station, largest train station in America, covered 22 acres
Q. Why did Vanderbilt want control of the Erie Rail Line and how did he attempt to get it?
Ans: Secretly tried to buy up stock in the company
Q. What do Jay Gould and Jim Fisk do to thwart Vanderbilt’s plan to buy the Erie Rail Line?
Ans: Print more stock certificates to make Vanderbilt’s stock worthless by watering them down
Q. Sumner Redstone (majority owner of Viacom &CBS) claims that a successful business owner’s objective should be what? (Hint: it’s not about how much money a business owner makes)
Ans: The objective is to win. Win, win, win. Win not sometimes all the time.
Q. What does Vanderbilt decide that he needs to do to finally control a majority of the railroads in America?
Ans: Find a major supplier of kerosene and make a deal with him to transport it all on his (Vanderbilt) railroads
Q. Who does Vanderbilt invite from Cleveland to New York to move his plan forward?
Ans: John D. Rockefeller
Q. What event changes the outlook of the man from Cleveland?
Ans: Missing the train he was to take keeps him from being in a railroad accident which would have killed him
Q. Soon after acquiring his first ferry, what reputation did Vanderbilt earn?
Ans: Cutthroat – win at any cost
Q. Why did they call him “The Commodore?”
Ans: He was heavily involved with shipping
Q. In 1866, Vanderbilt was especially struggling. What recent loss affected him so deeply?
Ans: The death of his favored son, George.
Q. Vanderbilt’s rivals stopped believing he was a strong business adversary. What did Vanderbilt do to convince them he was still powerful?
Ans: Closed the Albany bridge, cutting off New York
Q. What effect did closing the bridge has on the New York Central Railroad, and how did Vanderbilt profit from it?
Ans: It drove their stock value into the ground. Vanderbilt bought the stock and gained control of the railroad
Q. Vanderbilt wanted to advertise his power as a railroad magnate. What enormous New York building did he help build?
Ans: Grand Central Depot (this was its original name before the demolition & expansion of the head house in 1899)
Q. Vanderbilt pioneered the technique of rapidly buying a large amount of another company’s stock. This is called a ___ _______.
Ans: hostile takeover
Q. How did Gould & Fisk prevent Vanderbilt’s takeover (and get rich in the process)?
Ans: Printing a lot of stock or “watering down” the stock
Q. The objective of the super-rich is often not to make money, it is to _.
Q. Vanderbilt knew that a good entrepreneur finds something that people lack and gives it to them. What product did Vanderbilt decide to sell?
Ans: kerosene (or oil – the video uses both terms and kerosene is an oil product)
Q. John D. Rockefeller was en route to a meeting with Vanderbilt. What happened on the trip there?
Ans: the train crashed
Q. How did that event affect Rockefeller?
Ans: Changed his attitude – he began to view himself as a man of destiny rather than a failed businessman
Q. How did Vanderbilt’s upbringing affect his business attitudes?
Ans: He had to fight for everything he had – this led to the competitive attitude that served him well in the business world
Q. Given, what you know about both Vanderbilt and Rockefeller, what do you think their meeting will be like when it takes place?
Ans: most kids will probably latch on to the man of destiny’s answer to the previous question and predict that Rockefeller may be able to negotiate an effective deal with Vanderbilt. Alternatively, they may believe that Vanderbilt will win due to his business aggression.
Conclusion – Episode 1 A New War Begins
As the nation attempts to rebuild following the destruction of the Civil War, Cornelius Vanderbilt is the first to see the need for unity to regain America’s stature in the world. Vanderbilt makes his mark in shipping and then the railroad industry. Railroads stitch together the nation, stimulating the economy by making it easier to move goods across the country. But Vanderbilt faces intense competition early on, showing that captains of industry will always be challenged by new innovators and mavericks.
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