Robber Barons – Module 2

By the late 1800s, majority of the wealth in the U.S. were owned by just a handful of powerful businessmen that were categorized as robber barons due to their method of business tactics used to amass their fortunes.  The likes of John D. Rockefeller who dominated the oil industry, Andrew Carnegie who dominated the steel industry, and John P. Morgan who dominated the financing industry.  All three may have initially been looked upon by the underprivileged and the workers as being greedy, self-indulging, and perceived as corrupt for their business tactics of under pricing and then monopolizing the industries once they chased the competitors out of business.  Although in today’s era of antitrust acts, heavy government regulations and laws, and the rapid advancement of information and technology have opened the floodgates to fierce competition, this was not so apparent and lacking during the age of the robber barons.  To deem them as evil people and lacking the moral aptitude to take care of their of workers and society seems a bit judgemental in my view.  In the era of their wealth creation during the heart of the Industrial Revolution, millions of immigrants and citizens of the U.S. alike were initially content with just having any job which was provided by the robber barons.  In all fairness to the robber barons, during the latter part of their life, they did distribute much of their fortunes in the form of philanthropy which is still exemplified by many of the billionaires of today’s generation.


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