Politicians may make policy, but a list of 10 Famous American Businessmen would show better examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great. Sometimes, the laws would be changed well after these people made their fortunes, but we cannot try them for crimes as many of them are dead. There's also the constitutional provision against ex-post facto laws that would prevent a trial even if some of them were living. The greater a person's business acumen is, the higher the number he earned on this list.
- Brigham Young — Brigham Young is a name that is forever associated with polygamy, long beards and a certain university in Utah. Students of Mormon history will also associate the name with bizarre and sometimes embarrassing quotes. Nevertheless, the man possessed superior organizational skills and moved thousands of people from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. Because he died in debt, he cannot be remembered higher on this list, but he died start the ZCMI as a way to keep the people who followed him from buying from the competing non-Mormon businesses that had sprung up in Utah from the 1850s to the 1870s.
- Eli Whitney — Eli Whitney is remembered more for his inventions, such as the cotton gin, than his prowess as a business man. Without Whitney we would not be able to wear as much comfortable clothing as we do, nor would we be able to exchange parts in many of our devices. Interchangeable parts would lead to mass production and further the industrial revolution.
- Dale Carnegie — The author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has had a lasting impact on how businesses motivate and manipulate their employees.
- Andrew Carnegie — Andrew Carnegie made most of his money through insider trading. His style was ruthless and he amassed a fortune without worrying too much about the morality of how his wealth was gained. If one thing can be said for Andrew Carnegie, he did decide to give away his money late in life. Many cities have libraries that were founded by this steel magnate.
- Bill Gates — Bill Gates has received a lot of grief for the statement that 640K [of memory] ought to be enough for anybody. What Bill Gates does not deserve is his reputation for being an innovator. Gates standardized modern computer interfaces by copying the good ideas of other people. The basic concept for Windows can be traced to a Xerox technician who sold his Windows operating system interface to Apple.
- Benjamin Franklin — Benjamin Franklin, one of America's founding fathers, could have written his own Horatio Algiers story. In fact, he did. It was called "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." Franklin considered himself middle class for most of his life, even after he became one of America's first millionaires. He showed his prowess as a business man long before he became a statesman.
- Thomas Edison — Nikola Tesla may have more sympathy in the popular press, but Edison made money of of his inventions and did not alienate many of his supporters. Edison did not die in debt.
- Henry Ford –The reader can have this text in any color he likes, as long as its black. Ford invented the assembly line and founded the only car company in America that did not take stimulus funds.
- Stephen Forbes –Stephen Forbes may have never successfully ran for president, but he comes off as being likable and not too far distant from the average person, even if many of us will never be able to drink a beer from the man. His magazine posts the Fortune 500 which serves as a who's-who amongst successful businessman.
- P.T. Barnum — P.T. Barnum understood that the public wanted to be fooled, although he never said that there was a sucker born every minute. The gentleman was an advertising genius and would, if he were Catholic, be the patron saint of the marketing profession.
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