Industrial Statesmen or Robber Barons?

1040 Words5 Pages
America has always been thought of as the land of opportunity, and as the country became more developed, many saw that this dream could become a reality. After the Civil War and towards the end of the 19th century, America became an industrial empire and was transformed into an economic giant. With the discovery of new raw materials and the enhancement of the technological era, many people took on the jobs of becoming businessmen. However, some of these businessmen became so interested in gaining as much money and power as possible, they became known as “robber barons”. In this essay I will be arguing that it is completely justified to call industrial leaders robber barons because of their ruthless business practices. First, by creating monopolies that destroyed competition. Second, by exploiting employees to help themselves. Third, by manipulating the market for their advantage. Industrial leaders such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Frick all made monopolies that completely negated the purpose of capitalism. By creating these huge monopolies, the leaders of these corporations annihilated all of the competition, making it impossible for small businesses to compete, and in turn, took away equal opportunity in the business industry altogether. The power of the monopoly is shown in the Culver Pictures cartoon that depicts Standard Oil as an octopus, grabbing everything around it with its tentacles, controlling every aspect of the way the company is run and how the product is produced. This affected the quality of the products being produced. Without the “invisible hand” of competition, there was no reason for companies to make the best product possible if it was the only one available to the consumer. As if this is not enough, the prices also shot up because there were no competitors selling the same product for less. So these robber barons not only took away equal
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