Although Cornelius Vanderbilt was a shrewd and excellent business man, incalculably enriching the lives of his consumers and a veritable hero for economic progress, Vanderbilt was a very cold individual. At one point, he committed his wife to an insane asylum. From Men of Wealth (free from Mises.org):
Most serious was the dark gulf that widened between himself and his wife. He was a heartless man. She was a weak woman. She wept and seemed forever dissatisfied. Her health broke down. She declined into fits of melancholy, due partly, beyond doubt, to her physical infirmities but also in part to certain escapades of the full-blooded Commodore that preyed on her mind. She whimpered against moving back to Manhattan to the stately home being built on Washington Square. They quarreled. The quarrels split the family. And in the end Vanderbilt said she must be crazy. To suspect it was to conclude it, and, against the protests of her daughters, he put her into a Flushing insane asylum. Members of his own family charged that he did it to make way for some other woman. It is a dark chapter in his life. It opens a crack in his shell through which we may have a peep at the ruthless soul within. The unfortunate woman remained in the asylum for two years, after which, under pressure of his family, he permitted her to come home. This was in 1847.
This cruel act would not be possible without government enforced involuntary commitment, an act that still occurs in modern America.