Mark Hopkins (1813-1878) was one of the "Big Four" directors of the Central Pacific Railroad, which built the western end of the transcontinental railroad between 1865 and 1869. The railroad turned Hopkins into a multimillionaire, and he built himself one of the world's most lavish mansions atop San Francisco's posh Nob Hill.
In 1877, Hopkins became the target of ferocious anger from San Francisco Workingman's Party leader Denis Kearney. Kearney believed that an unholy alliance of American plutocrats and Chinese "coolie" laborers had combined to deprive white workingmen of the opportunity to earn a decent living. He staged a massive rally on Hopkins' doorstep, shouting, "Central Pacific Railroad men are thieves, and will soon feel the power of the workingmen. When I have thoroughly organized my party, we will march through the city and compel the thieves to give up their plunder... I will give the Central Pacific just three months to discharge their Chinamen, and if that is not done, Stanford and his crowd will have to take the consequences."