According to the Economic Policy Institute, the top 1% of Americans control 85% of the country’s wealth. And there are certain families in America who’ve solidified themselves at the top of that 1%. Whether they’ve done it through politics, business, banking, the media, or even a combination of all four, these families exemplify “the American dream” – to an obscene degree. Rockefeller, Kennedy, Hearst, and DuPont are all household names. These families’ endeavors have earned them massive amounts of wealth and power, and their control is far-reaching. Such fame, power, and money don’t come without scandal, of course, though some have been better at covering it up than others. Presenting: America’s most powerful families, and a look at just how they made their fortunes.
You won’t believe the things some of these families have done to keep their wealth and power intact.
One of the most recognizable names in America, the Rockefeller family has been passing on their fortune through generations for the past 100 years. John D. Rockefeller became America’s first billionaire when he founded Standard Oil in 1870, and soon controlled most of the oil industry in the country. The Rockefellers are also known for their philanthropy, having established the University of Chicago, Rockefeller University, and Rockefeller Center. They’ve held political seats as governors, senators, and one even served as vice president. Their current $11 billion fortune is spread out among 174 heirs.
In 2016, the Rockefeller Family Fund began to pull back its fossil fuel investments, specifically Exxon Mobil, an offshoot of Standard Oil, for deceiving the public about the risks of climate change.
Next up is a political empire you’re probably pretty familiar with.