Robber Barons

The Robber Barons, as they were called, were the kings of American Industry and American Society during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Rich beyond the average man’s wildest dreams, these industrialists were often criticized for their philosophies and their ways of making money. Robber Barons can also be viewed as immoral, greedy, and corrupt, and the evidence to support such a view is not difficult to find. Bribery, illegal business practices, and cruelty to workers were not uncommon in this period, and many of the most respected industrialists were also the most feared and hated.Many people consider Rockefeller a robber of industry because of his forcible ways of gaining his monopolies.

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Rockefeller was fond of buying out small and large competitors. If the competitors refused to sell they often found Rockefeller cutting the prices of his Standard Oil or in the worst cases, their factories mysteriously blowing up. Rockefeller was obsessed with controlling the oil market and used many of undesirable tactics to flush his competitors out of the market. Rockefeller was also a master of the rebate game. He was one of the most dominant controllers of the railroads. He was so good at the rebate that at some times he skillfully commanded the rail road to pay rebates to his standard oil company on the traffic of other competitors. He was able to do this because his oil traffic was so high that he could make or break a section of a railroad a railroad company by simply not running his oil on their lines.

Another one of Rockefellers earlier mentioned but not explained tactics was his horizontally integrated monopoly. Rockefeller used this horizontal monopoly to set prices and force his competitors to merge with him.He was one of the many millionaires of his time that used bribery and like to aid his quest for wealth. He was also know for exploiting his workers and for over charging customers in his early steam boat days.

Hill’s worst two offenses were collusion and tricking bond holders about the real value of their bonds. When buying a railroad hill took the bond holders along it to show them the conditions of the tracks. However, instead of taking them along the whole track he took them only to parts and he made sure that these were the worst parts of the tracks before hand. He also was involved in collusion. Collusion is one of the slier business practices of the time. Hill was guilty of conspiring with his competitors to keep prices artificially high, therefore he was guilty of collusion.George M. Pullman is best remembered for his contributions to the railroad industry through the invention of his Pullman Cars.

The cars sold well and the railroad industry flourished with this new invention. Although the success attached to his name, not many people know the real truth behind this robber baron. His greed for money took him to extreme measures as his workers were seriously mistreated and put under strict restrictions. For instance, every worker had to live in his village (Pullman, IL) and under no circumstances was anyone allowed to leave. The people had to buy from his store, pay him rent, and attend work every day. People who did not abide were heavily penalized by their name being written on black book, which meant that this worker couldnt get a job in any other industrial field.

Robber Barons

Robber Barons Robber Barons When the names Carnagie, Rockefeller, and Edison come to mind, most of us automatically think of what we saw or read in our history books: These men were kind and generous and through hard work and perseverance, any one of you could become a success story like them, right? Wrong. I am sick of these people being remembered for the two or three good deeds they have done. Publicity and media have exaggerated the generosity of these men, the Government has spoiled these names with false lies, and people have been blind to see that these men were ruthless, sly businessmen who were motivated by your money and their struggle for power. How many history books teach such in-depth details like these? A prime example of the acts of a robber baron can be seen through the actions of John D. Rockefeller.A picture I have recently seen shows a group of people watching an old Rockefeller crouch over to accept a flower from a little girl.

The caption reads John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist, is caught doing one of his good deeds. No wonder that only a handful of people can’t distinguish that this old man was a crock and deserves to rot in hell! With all this positive media attention, the public had been fed lies! In real life, this money hungry, greedy villain is the prime reason why the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed. Rockefeller’s dream was to monopolize the oiling industry, and he so successfully did. Because of his great empire (the Standard Oil Co.

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) and the wealth it brought, when any other competitor tried even to step foot into the oiling industry, Rockefeller dropped his prices until the rookie industry was forced out. After he regained monopoly, he then jacked up the prices.Sure, the people were mad, but what could they do? Many other industries depended on the oil that Rockefeller provided and besides, the Sherman Antitrust Act couldn’t be enforced with these big businesses growing larger and larger. Another Robber Baron donated over 2500 libraries worldwide, he helped establish the famous concert hall in New York, and he helped finance several colleges in the US. Can you guess who he is? Yes! Andrew Carnagie.

Now how about this person: In the early 1900s, in order to maintain control of the steel industry, he bought out rival plants, he ran a self running holding company which bough stock in itself in order to buy control of the industry, and he also hired children (as young as 9 years old) to work twelve hours a day under harsh, dangerous conditions and paid them the lowest wages possible. Can you guess who he is now? As a matter of fact it is our American Hero Andrew Carnagie! Carnagie did, for a fact, hire children because they were cheaper; yet these same children were sometimes required to run swing shifts which meant occasional 24 hour work days.It all too much of a commonality that these robber barons all share some of the same traits: ruthlessness, mistreatment of their workers, greed for money and power, and a Machiavelian way of doing business. With these traits in mind, who can consider these men heroes? It’s the government and the big businesses which want us to think that way. It can only be them who portray these wicked as saints.

But I am educated, and through research and learning, I am thoroughly convinced that the people who our America looks up to and admires, are a bunch of villains. Although many of America’s Heros’s have turned out to be greedy Robber Barons, I disagree with anyone who considers Thomas Edison one of these. We have had many great inventors and Thomas Alva Edison is among them. The creator of many inventions including the electric lamp, stock printer, light bulb, phonograph, and literally hundreds of other useful inventions.He worked at a railroad station when he was only twelve years old. That is where he was lead to the invention of both the Stock printer and the telegraph transmitter, as well as many other patents dealing with telegraphs such as the Automatic Telegraph, Duplex Telegraphs, Quadruplex Telegraph Repeater, Telephonic Telegraphs, and Acoustic Telegraphs.

When he was working at the train station a choice that he had no idea would lead to his interest in telegraphs came about. The station operator’s son had fallen on the tracks. Thomas made a wise decision and decided that he could help him and ran down and got him off the tracks with just about 15 seconds to spare.Because of that the station operator decided to teach Edison about telegraphs.

Five years later Edison was given a job as a telegraph operator in Boston, Massachusetts. After having that job for a short time Edison found how he could improve how things were done and that is how all the inventions for telegraphs came about. Many other things also made him such a great inventor. Edison could have settled with the job as a telegraph operator, which he did for a few years but at nights on his free time he would continuously work on inventions trying to make things better.

Because of that great desire he came up with many new things that made life easier for everyone.So many things in life have been made easier by Thomas Alva Edison’s hard work, which brought about 1,093 patents to his name.


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