The Free Market and Politics: Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Steamboat “Monopoly”

For the second video in this series, I discuss Cornelius Vanderbilt and his activities in New York’s steamboat industry in the early 1800s. Some people like KnowledgeHub claim that Vanderbilt was one of the infamous “Robber Barons.” However, the facts show that Vanderbilt was in fact a savvy business owner who was competing against state enforced monopolies. In this case, that monopoly was Robert Fulton’s Steamboat Monopoly.

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Original Video:


Citations: Editors (Ed.) (2017, April 28). Cornelius Vanderbilt Biography. Retrieved December 5, 2018, from

Entrepreneurs and American Economic Growth Cornelius (Commodore) Vanderbilt. (2017, May 23). Retrieved December 5, 2018, from
Sourced from the University of Georgia.

Gordon, J. S. (1993). The Steamboat Monopoly. American Heritage Magazine, 44 (7), Retrieved December 5, 2018, from

Hess, P. (2015, August 11). Early Years of Steamboating on the Hudson. Retrieved December 5, 2018, from

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