Leland Stanford: The Spike of The Big Four
This paper explores articles that detail the events and happenings of the life of Leland Stanford. Several encyclopedia articles focus on his life. (Baker & Hutchins, 2001) focuses on Stanford’s personal life and family, while (Bourgoin, 1998) focuses on how Stanford accumulated his wealth by helping build the transcontinental railroad, opening a store with his brothers, and several other business ventures. Other articles such as (Carson & Bonk, 1999) focus on his government career and how he made the transition from the eighth Governor of California to Senator of the United States. The final articles focus on Leland Stanford’s crowning glory, Stanford University and how the death of Stanford’s only child impacted its construction. (Olmstead, 2009) and (Stanford, 2010) analyze Stanford’s student population. (Worlds, 2004) focuses on Stanford’s history and famous alumni and (Stanford Admissions, 2010) focuses on Stanford Universities acceptance criteria. This paper analyzes Leland Stanford’s life and business ventures and how they positively affected society.
Leland Stanford: The Spike of The Big Four
In a time of corrupt politicians and trust tycoons, Leland Stanford stood out as an honest and hardworking businessman. The term “Robber Baron” was used to describe a successful industrialist who used cheap immigrant workers and the necessity of trade to build his or her fortune. Technically, this word could be used to describe Leland Stanford, as he was a successful industrialist and did use immigrant workers; but that is not the case. Leland Stanford was different than the average business tycoon in the fact that he truly wanted to help revolutionize America, unlike others who greedily just wanted to make money by taking advantage of others. He put his time and money into making this a better place for everyone. Even in the shadow of death and sorrow of his only son, Stanford created a memorial for his son that would give thousand of students the opportunity to get educations and make a better life for themselves. As an excellent lawyer, businessman, father, and philanthropist he truly left his impression on today’s society, even though some people tried to accuse Stanford of slave labor and of exploiting immigrant workers.
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Leland Stanford was born on March 9, 1824 in Watervliet, New York. As one of eight children, he was fortunate enough to be able to have a formal education from a local tutor. Schooling in those days was hard to come by, and any formal education you could get would help you succeed in the world. Stanford’s father was a wealthy farmer who also dabbled in constructing local bridges and roads. This formal education and inherent business experience, which would later prove to be a valuable key to his success, drove Stanford to apprentice at an Albany law office and to later gain admission to the bar (Bourgoin, 1998).
In 1848, Stanford opened up his own law firm while his brothers moved to California with golden dreams. Staying on the east coast, Stanford met Jane Elizabeth Lathrop, and the two soon wed. Two years into this marital bliss, Stanford’s Port Washington law firm burnt down. With no other option, he moved to California to join his brothers in the mining industry where he was the keeper of a general store and later a wholesale house. Also while in California, Stanford served as Justice of the Peace and helped organize the Sacramento Library Association, which later became the Sacramento Public Library. After having his first government experience as Justice of the Peace, Stanford tried again for state treasurer but unfortunately lost (Carson & Bonk, 1999).
However, Leland Stanford’s bad luck was about to turn around.
With the Civil War splitting the Democratic Party, Stanford easily won the Democratic vote for Governor in 1862, and became the eighth Governor of California. Although he only served one term as governor, he made several very important decisions that aided him in the long run. His first important decision was keeping California in the union; this kept him in good graces with the Republic. After the Republic won the Civil War, Stanford’s fate in government was sealed for the rest of his life. His second life-changing decision was that his administration also encouraged the passage of several acts designed to aid the proposed transcontinental railroad, which would link the east to the western frontier. This was particularly important because the building of the transcontinental railroad would be one of America’s greatest technological accomplishments. With the foundations of the transcontinental railroad in place, Stanford was more aggressive than ever in his endeavors to begin the construction on what would be one of his greatest investments (Baker & Hutchins 2001).
... railroad building increased. The Pacific railroads, the Union Pacific building from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific building from Sacramento, California, had started to build a transcontinental railroad ... driven in by the Governor of California, Leland Stanford. The band stopped playing and a ... executives, engineers, and state dignitaries. Three days later, the Union Pacific train came with ...
While governor, Stanford became increasingly interested in the idea of a continent spanning (Bourgoin, 1998) railroad that would help to transport people and goods that were necessary for the growing west (Baker & Hutchins, 2001).
He teamed up with fellow California businessmen and partners: Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins. These men plus Stanford would later be known as the big four. These business partners took matters into their own hands by acquiring the rights to the Central Pacific Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad and combining them and formed the Central Pacific Railroad Company in 1861. Stanford and the three other members of the big four were responsible for building the western half of the first transcontinental railroad (Bourgoin, 1998).
Stanford served as president of the company from its formation until his death. However, several opposed groups did not approve of the railroad, or how it was built.
Frederick Law Olmsted was born on April 26, 1822 in Hartford, Connecticut and died at an asylum at the McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts in 1903. He is now remembered as the founding father of American landscape architecture. During his lifetime, he planned many parks, urban landscapes, and university campuses including the following: Franklin Park; Prospect Park; Central Park; the planned ...
Many activists and interest groups were outraged at the building of the railroad because it used Chinese and Irish immigrant workers to help cheaply get the job done. The Big Four were accused of exploiting these workers to help boost themselves politically and financially. By building this railroad and giving these workers jobs, Stanford was in fact helping the new American immigrants get started and provide for their family instead of exploiting them. Also, by constructing the railroad, he was providing a way to move people and goods west, to fulfill the government mindset of Manifest Destiny (Baker & Hutchins, 2001).
With easier transportation, people began to move west more rapidly and industrialize. Without Stanford’s contribution, the west would not have developed into the thriving capital of entertainment and export goods that stimulates and provides for our country today.
With the building of the transcontinental railroad out of the way, Stanford had more time to focus on more personal tasks like building his ranch home in California; creating, at the time, the largest vineyard in the world stretching 13,400 acres; and building the Palo Alto farm which was home to his famous standard bred horses (Olmsted, 2009).
Each of these sites are still being used today by Stanford University as agricultural learning centers. In the midst of all this construction, Stanford ran for the U.S. Senate and was elected in 1885. After being elected to the U.S. Senate, he continued to influence legislation in California and to aide with the developing rail and water systems (Bourgoin, 1998).
All of his projects while in office were to better serve the people of California, like new water transportation systems that would increase water availability for personal and commercial use. Also while in office, Stanford oversaw the establishment of California’s first state school located in San José, which would serve as a precursor to his later establishment of Stanford Junior College. With new rail and water systems and a state school, California began to grow as an economic leader in the west.
In 1885, Stanford’s only child Leland Stanford Jr., died of typhoid fever while on vacation in Italy. Heartbroken, Stanford needed a way to memorialize his lost child and make his name an institution. As he was extremely interested in his son’s education, Stanford decided to provide a 20 million-dollar endowment to found the Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, California, in memory of his son. After years of planning, refining, and building, Stanford University opened on October 1, 1891 (Worlds, 2004).
Google Inc. was founded in 1998 by two Stanford University graduate students collaborating to create a new search engine. Today, Google employs over 19,000 people, has become the most widely used search engine in the world and now offers e-mail, mapping, video sharing and social networking services, just to name a few. The company’s success is notable, but not just for its financial growth, in ...
Stanford University, in the decades since World War II, became one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. The first student to enroll at Stanford was none other than 31st president of the United States Herbert Hoover, the president who helped turn around the Great Depression. Building from Stanford’s initial funding, Stanford University includes extensive research facilities that allow its students to learn more in-depth about the world around them.
The University of Stanford’s Medical School’s website shows a list of all major breakthroughs that have happened since opening, including California’s first kidney transplant, the discovery that insulin levels help maintain diabetes, and several cancer breakthroughs. Although Leland Stanford is not directly responsible for every breakthrough that Stanford University churns out, without the initial funding from Stanford none of it would be possible. All of the people that Stanford’s medical research has helped or even saved would not be around today without the scientific knowledge that students at Stanford University have made with the help of Leland Stanford’s funding. Other notable achievements that Stanford University has produced are Vinton Cerf, the ‘father of the Internet’, Chih-Yuan ‘Jerry’ Yang and David Filo, founders of Yahoo!, and Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, founders of Google. All of these Stanford alumni have impacted today’s society in ways Stanford could have never imagined. (Worlds, 2004).
According to Stanford’s admissions page, Stanford is seen as one of the United States’ most prestigious schools, enrolling only those in the 75th percentile of American standardized testing and giving financial aid to 87% of students (Stanford Admissions, 2010).
By enrolling only those that have shown that they truly want to learn and help to make a better world, Stanford University is following the mindset of Leland Stanford who when creating Stanford University had only five requirements: “To establish and maintain a University that will fit the graduate pupils and whatever they desire to pursue, to teach that they are subject to the holy creator of all things, that cooperation is the key to all things, to give equal opportunity to both sexes, and to maintain my grounds as instruction in agriculture in all its braches.” (Stanford, 2010).
Introduction Purpose of the web site The University of Glamorgan is an institute of higher learning with a diverse population. Entertainment is provided for such a population in the form of the Students union. The purpose of the web site designed, was to appeal to the diverse student body. It is aimed at attracting students. It is noted that an interesting students union may attract potential ...
With all of these in mind, Stanford created a University that would help to create Americans that believe in the value of learning, faith, and cooperation like he did and to make the world a better place through their good will and philanthropy.
Using his education and business instincts from his father, Stanford created a living for himself and became a philanthropist by helping to shape the world in ways unimaginable. Without Leland Stanford, the way things are done today would be vastly different. There would be no internet, Google, or Yahoo; thus, finding information would be extremely difficult and arduous and some people around the world would have absolutely no way to communicate or learn with the world President Hoover might not have gotten the education he needed to become president, and the United States would have an alternate future. For instance, if the transcontinental railroad had never been built, then the west might have never been industrialized, and explorers might just now be exploring the western coast. If Leland Stanford had been the typical high powered industrialist, or “Robber Barron” whose only goal in life was to make money, then the world would not have a great example of a true and honest businessman. Even when others tried to cast him in a negative light, they were unable to realize the big picture concepts that Stanford was seeing. In a world of greedy businessmen, Stanford stood out as an honest man who loved a day’s hard work and wanted to make a better world for the next generation.
Baker, D. & Hutchins, S. (Ed.).
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IB Extended EssayThe Special Conditions and Situations in pre-World War II Germany that led to the Creation and Acceptance of the Idea of the HolocaustThe actual word holocaust simply refers to any widespread human disaster. However, The Holocaust has a much more powerful definition. It was the almost complete destruction of the Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany (Encarta). The beginning of the ...
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