Whether we’re talking about money, power or very good publicity, certain families are said to rule the world. Find out how many of these are truths and how many are myths.
Famous families who would rule the world
There are legendary dynasties that hold surprising power in the United States of America. Based on the businesses they have developed and brought them huge fortunes, it is rumored that these American dynasties are also pulling the strings of the world, like in a puppet theater. Here are the most influential American families and how they managed to acquire immeasurable power.
One of the most powerful real estate tycoons today, Donald Trump began his career as a real estate investor and developer at his father’s company. While battling bankruptcy and SEC charges in the 1990s, Trump reestablished himself as a successful businessman, and today he is perhaps best known for also serving as President of the United States.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka is proving to be just as business savvy. She purchased The Doral Resort and its Blue Monster golf course in Miami for $150 million, according to Forbes, and plans to spend $200 million renovating it. She also has a successful jewelry, perfume and shoe line.
Ivanka’s husband, businessman Jared Kushner, runs his family’s real estate development firm, Kushner Properties. He is the founder of the investment fund Thrive Capital and owns The New York Observer, which he bought in 2006 for $10 million. Donald Trump has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion, while Ivanka has $150 million. Jared’s net worth is around $200 million.
Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903, and the Fords were the first American automobile family ever since. His only son, Edsel, took over the company in 1919 at the age of 26 and is credited with the stylish designs that made the brand so popular. Edsel’s son Henry II took over the reigns of the Ford Motor Company in 1943 at the age of 25 and revived the company after World War II. His brothers held high and powerful positions under him.
Today, the family is still involved in the company: Henry II’s son, Edsel II, still sits on the company’s board of directors, his granddaughter Elena is a vice president at the company, and William Jr., a nephew of Edsel Ford served as Chairman and CEO until 2006 and remains the company’s Executive Chairman. The Ford family owns $1.2 billion worth of common stock.
Nicholas Pritzker has built a legal legacy for his family. He arrived penniless from Kiev, taught himself English and worked during the day to attend law school at night. He continued with a law practice, but his sons Harry, Abram and Jack went into business instead, investing in real estate and small businesses that became a small family fortune. Abram delved into philanthropy and helped found the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.
Now, the Pritzkes are most famous for running the Hyatt hotel empire, thanks to Abram’s sons Jay, Robert and Donald. In 1957 they bought the Hyatt House hotel in Los Angeles and over the years turned their investment into a large chain of Hyatt hotels around the world. They also founded the industrial conglomerate Marmon Group, which they sold to Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway in 2008 for $4.8 billion. Data from Forbes puts the wealth of all important family members at nearly $20 billion.
The Murdoch family
The Murdochs are Australian-American media moguls who run a massive media conglomerate. Although originally from Scotland, the family began to gain power in the early 1900s in Melbourne, Australia, when Keith Murdoch founded Australia’s first national media chain, called News Limited.
Keith had four children, but his son Keith Rupert took over the family business after his father died. Although born in Australia, Rupert Murdoch moved to New York in 1974 and is now a naturalized American citizen. Many of Rupert’s children and other relatives work or have worked in the media at one time or another.
While a number of other wealthy “old guild” families lost their wealth or power, the Rockefellers retained their vast empire. The Rockefellers came to the US, most likely from Germany, sometime in the 1720s. John D. Rockefeller’s fortune began when he established a produce business that fed Union troops during the Civil War.
After the war, he began investing in oil and co-founded Standard Oil in 1870 with $1 million in capital, making it the largest company in the country at the time. John D. also invested in large real estate projects in New York City, where he lived with his family.
John D.’s son, John Jr. invested in real estate and eventually became the majority shareholder of Chase Bank. John Jr.’s son Nelson chose to enter politics, serving four terms as governor of New York until 1973. His brother John III donated $175 million to build Lincoln Center, and his brother David, the last surviving child of John D. was president and chief executive officer of Chase Bank.
The Bush family
Bush served in both the executive and legislative branches of government. The family has given the country two US presidents and two state governors. The Bush family’s net worth is estimated at around $60 million. Because of their close ties to Texas, the Bushes are sometimes seen simply as oil tycoons, but oil is just one industry the Bush family has profited from.
The family is also prominent in the world of investment banking, starting with Samuel P. Bush, who helped found the US Chamber of Commerce. During the First World War, his businesses enabled him to build the family fortune. Samuel’s son Prescott became wealthy through finance at Union Banking Corp. and through oil, as a board member of the oil equipment company Dresser Industries, which is the company his son George HW Bush got his start in. Dresser merged with Halliburton in the late 20th century.
George HW married Barbara Pierce, had six children: Pauline, Neil, Marvin, Dorothy, John Ellis (“Jeb”) and was elected president in 1988. His son George W. followed in 2000, but not before to start and sell the struggling Arbusto Energy.