Robber Barons Essay

850 WordsNov 10, 20144 Pages
Alonso Martiarena Robber Barons Essay 2-10-14 Robber Barons. The very phrase speaks of mystery, intrigue, power, and deeds that no truly compassionate human being could ever commit in good conscience. Despite the negative connotations this label often brings to mind, a look at who these men really were and how they became successful shows a different story than the one usually continued in American history today. The "Robber Barons" were a group of entrepreneurs who advanced American industrialization and economic growth during the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Their business plant process led men such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and James J. Hill to gain incredible fortunes for themselves, while at the same time dramatically introducing, improving ratio, and lowering prices in the steel, oil, and railroad industries. The great wealth, power, and connections these men collected naturally made them appear greedy to the average American. The picture of these men as profiting at the cost of the poor and working class prompted connections being made between their lives and those of the "old German barons who, from their eyries along the Rhine, swooped down upon the commerce of the noble river, and moved tribute from every passenger that floated by. Let on such as Ida Tarbell’s The History of the Standard Oil Company and Henry Lloyd Demarest’s Wealth Against Commonwealth further advanced the idea that America’s "captains of industry" were engaged in monopolistic practices harmful to the American economy. However, it was Matthew Josephson’s work in the mid-1930s that officially branded the "great American capitalists" as Robber Barons. Actioning the Robber Baron’s search for gain and control at any cost, Josephson’s picture of these men soon became commonplace in the history books. Recent scholarship

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