Thursday, April 24, 2014

On Industrialist, James J. Hill

I consider this fellow one of the great North American heroes of the 19th Century, in that not only did he construct a transcontinental railroad, he did it a) without a dime of government largess and b) without slaughtering a single Native-American. Compare that to the crony capitalists in both business and government who gave us the Union Pacific and the way that those folks bled the treasury dry, ripped off their customers, and essentially exterminated the plains Indians and, yeah, the achievement is even more remarkable. Give it up, folks.


Rational Nation USA said...

James Jerome Hill has rightly earned a place as one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Great article, Les (and FEE has some excellent seminars on youtube, fyi).......I just want to add that, while Vanderbilt may have take some money for railroads, he didn't take any for steam transport and he still be the crap out of Edward Collins (who essentially bled the treasury dry). So a partial thumbs up for Vandy.

BB-Idaho said...

Hill was a business and finance wizard. Railroads necessarily require huge and ongoing investment in physical plant and
business cycles affect them significantly. Hill was able to
weather these losses. Sort of interesting: he very much wanted to purchase/merge with the Northern Pacific and the Burlington Route to synergize coastal and Chicago markets. Although the markets and guv at the time prevented that, it was finally accomplished resulting in our largest railroad, the BNSF.
We assume the success of that railroad, and the fact that Warren Buffet bought controlling
interest, reflects Hill's prescient wisdom in the matter.