The Wealthiest Americans in History

Fortune published the updated list of the wealthiest people in American history, using their networth as a % of GDP to standardize figures. Some I had never heard of and some I was surprised by. I was also amazed that at his peak, John D Rockefeller’s wealth = 1/65th total GDP…
     Name                               Net Worth       %of GDP
1. Rockefeller                          $1.4B              1/65
2. Cornelius Vanderbilt             $105m             1/87
3. John Jacob Astor                $20m               1/107
4. Stephen Girard                    $7.5m              1/150 (who???)
5. Bill Gates                           $82B                1/152
6. Andrew Carnegie                 $475m              1/166
7. Alexander Stewart               $50m                1/178 (who again..Merchant Prince?)
8. Frederick Weyerhauser        $200m             1/182
9. Jay Gould                           $77m                 1/185
10.Stephen Van Rensslelaer     $10m               1/194

2 thoughts on “The Wealthiest Americans in History

  1. I’d like to see a list of the most powerful individuals through capital influencing abilities, such as JP Morgan in his prime, Buffett’s control of Berkshire Hathaway, Michael Milken, and LTCM or Kravis & Roberts with the capital and leverage ability of their funds.

  2. I have always been amazed that Morgan, who is often the name that comes up most frequently (and whose name is on the second largest bank in the world), had only a fraction of Rockefeller’s wealth (around $100m+ vs. $1.4b). Just goes to show that it pays better to be the entrepreneur (successful) than the financial backer…

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