Thinking more about it, I’m wondering if Rockefeller and Vanderbilt were blamed for the Long Depression, which was called The Great Depression at the time.
Obviously Venderbilt couldn’t be blamed for the 1930’s Great Depression. This would be absurd.
However, my understanding is that the Panic of 1873 and the following depression were caused by monetary expansion that was used to finance the Civil War.
Just to be clear, I haven’t seen the History Channel special, and only got that accusation from these friends of mine.