Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Gates, Bezos, & Musk: A History of American Wealth

University of Texas

Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University’s Department of History and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A popular public lecturer and frequent news commentator, his writings appear in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time, and other media. Professor Suri has received the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas and the Pro Bene Meritis Award for Contributions to the Liberal Arts. Professor Suri hosts the weekly podcast, “This is Democracy,” and is the author and editor of eleven books, including: The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office; Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama; and Henry Kissinger and the American Century. His most recent book is entitled: Civil War by Other Means: America’s Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy.

 

Overview

The pursuit of wealth is part of what defines the American experience. The 150 years from 1870 to 2020 witnessed the greatest production of wealth in the United States, unparalleled anywhere else in the world. A small group of individuals drove this wealth-creation, and they benefited from it in remarkable ways that are hard for the rest of us to even imagine. This talk will trace the careers of some of the most important men who expanded the American economy and became super-rich. We will understand their actions, their risk-taking, and their values. We will assess their contributions and their crimes. We will also see how earlier generations — Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Carnegie — influenced more recent moguls, especially Gates, Bezos, and Musk. We will conclude with some reflections on the historical role of wealth in our democracy.

Reviews

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Mark Brazitis

Excellent Talk

This professor is outstanding. His preparation and presentation is spot on. His delivery is well thought out and intelligent.
Tough topic but presented in a very constructive manner.

11 months ago
Patrick Mahoney

Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carneige,

Outstanding and timely lecture on America’s major challenge of income inequality.

11 months ago
Mark Brazitis

Excellent Talk

This professor is outstanding. His preparation and presentation is spot on.
Tough topic but presented in a very constructive manner.

11 months ago
Merla Beckerman

Factual, easily comprehensible and well presented..
A timely topic. Good consideration of questions.
Thank you!

11 months ago
Mark Brazitis

On the Point

Great!!

11 months ago
Merle Imler

Great lecturer

Dr. Siri is a wonderful lecturer. He speaks clearly and succinctly. His talks are well prepared, intelligent, and delivered in a very organized fashion. When the upcoming talks are listed in an email, I am always thrilled when he is listed as one of the speakers.

11 months ago
Barbara Marks

Excellent Presentation

This speaker was clear, organized, to the point, and also very interesting. He presented a new way to consider wealth. But I do not agree with him about socialism in the US. It is here.

11 months ago
Rhona Shulman

A History of American Wealth

What an outstanding lecturer–clarity of material and presentation!

11 months ago
Norman Weiner

A History of American Wealth

One of the best lectures of the series. Clear and concise and right
up to date from Carnegie to Bezos. Don’T miss it.

11 months ago
DJ Roginski

A History of American Wealth

A book critic whose name I unfortunately cannot remember once said that if Michael Lewis (The Big Short/The Fifth Risk/Flash Boys) wrote a 250-page book on the history of the stapler, he would read it. I feel the same about talks by Jeremi Suri. Any time I see his name, I want to tune in. A thoughtful, engaging and sometimes self-deprecating lecturer, he mixes facts, figures and anecdotes to make history come alive. After listening to another of his recent lectures on “The Impossible Presidency,” I immediately went out to get the book, which I highly recommend. Would that he were one of my history profs.

11 months ago
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