During the late 19th century, there was a growth in industrialization. This brought new opportunities for the poor and the rich. For example, Carnegie helped build the steel industry in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, which made him one of the richest man in the world. As Carnegie gained more wealth, he questioned who money should be given to. Carnegie was both a Robber Baron and a Captain of Industry.
After the Civil War, the Second Industrial Revolution was established due to America’s rapid growth for industry and economics. Capitalists during the industrial period of 1875-1900’s were either accused of being a robber baron or a captain of industry. Some capitalists leaders who were accused of being a robber baron or captain of industry included J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon, and John D. Rockefeller. A robber baron is a business leader who gets rich through cruel and scandalous business practices. The captains of industry is a business leader who wants to better the companies in a way that it would be positively contributing to the country. The most accurate characterization for the time period of 1875-1900’s were both
Robber barons, specifically Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist and John D. Rockefeller, a philanthropist, were the chosen, elite members of society according to the doctrine of Social Darwinism. Darwinism is when evolution occurs and the strongest organisms of an ecosystem survive and reproduce to outnumber the weaker, less fit organisms of an ecosystem. Similarly Social Darwinism follows the same concept, but in a capitalist sense of thought. Those who were able to exploit the Gilded Age’s laissez faire economy to their own benefit, like the robber barons Andrew Carnegie of Carnegie Steel and J. D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil, were the fittest members of society because they were able to survive in the grueling and ruthless free economy. By usurping all of the fresh yet unfit immigrants that were flowing into the States due to the rise of urbanization, these two men integrated these easily-manipulated people into their factories to augment their profits. Even further, these robber barons would often ruthlessly eradicate competition by buying out other companies to establish monopolies through the horizontal and vertical integration of production and product.
Andrew Carnegie makes it clear that people in society with wealth should help those who deserve the financial help. If those in need of help put in their effort, then why shouldn’t they be helped by those who don’t need it? In the Life of the Average Coal Miner, the harsh conditions that children faced is revealed. Children would work for hours in a crucial and dangerous environment and be rewarded with very little money that did not equal to the amount of work they put in. It is unfair to those who worked in the conditions in the Life of the Average Coal Miner. It is almost a betrayal to permit such inequality in our country and this is what Carnegie was standing for.
Carnegie thinks it is better to build public institutions than give charity to the poor because the poor need to have the “desire to improve” and find help in these public institutions. (Carnegie 30). He believes that rather wealthy “Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives” can find the proper use for their money, which is to help the community. (Carnegie 29). By just giving money to the poor the wealthy are doing all their work and instead the poor should find the assistance they need to improve their lives. By building public institutions the poor have better chances of finding assistance and the recourses the need to better their life in the long run. For example if you give a poor man 100 dollars he is going to waste that money
Thesis : After the Civil War, America was in a post-war boom. During the 1870-1890, big business moguls, such as Rockefeller and Carnegie, create huge corporations which not only affected the economy, but also affected the political realm of America. While many may assume that during the rise of these big business helped to change the economy and politics, the real focus was on the responses formed by society, such as labor unions, increase public outcry, and political opposition groups that helped to change society.
The end of the reconstruction era gave rise to the gilded age. The gilded age was a time of economic growth. It was the second industrial revolution, urbanization, immigration and political/economic corruption. The congress and the big business were more influential than the presidency. The term ‘Gilded Age’ was termed by Mark Twain who described the wealthy who were covered in a ‘layer of gold’, a superficial layer can be peeled and reveals unpleasant things. The period from 1870 to 1900, big businesses governed by Robber Barons sprung up and took control of the economy and the political system that governed the American People. The American people responded by forming labor unions and tried to improve the plight of the poor.
The late 19th century was full of growth, production, and business. People were craving power and seemed to achieve this through any means necessary. Consequently, a new business elite formed consisting of the richest men alive. The way in which these individuals acquired all their profits is something very contradictory even over one-hundred years later. Some historians characterize these businessmen as “robber barons” who used extreme methods to control and concentrate wealth and power, and being supported by multiple sources, this statement is justified but only to some extent.
At the end of the 19th Century, as the United States was experiencing rapid industrialization, a reconfiguration of the social order yielded opposing visions of social progress. Andrew Carnegie, wealthy businessman, and Jane Addams, founder of Chicago’s Hull House, put forward different methods to achieve such progress, where Addams focuses on creating social capital in a seemingly horizontal manner while Carnegie advocates for a top-down approach. While both of them seem to reap a sense of purpose from their attempts to improve the nation, their approaches vary depending on their vision of the composition of the population they want to uplift.
Andrew Carnegie was one of the most famous and wealthiest American industrialist during the Industrial Age. He was a robber baron who made a fortune in the steel industry and applied vertical integration to his business. Carnegie contradicted his views as a robber baron because he supported, but destroyed many unions. This made many of his views unethical.
Andrew Carnegie was a major capitalist of the 19th century. He became a major capitalist in the steel industry. He attained much of his wealth because he practically created the steel industry. Starting from the bottom and working is way to the top Andrew Carnegie became one of the richest men during his time. Starting at earning a dollar and twenty cents a week. Over time he will gain experience as a telegraph messenger and work at a Pennsylvania railroad this will help him to get a job in the railroad industry and three years later he is the superintendent. The next decade Andrew now owns his own steel business called Carnegie Steel Company. Andrew Carnegie revolutionized steel as we knew it using technology and procedures that made making steel much faster. For this he is a “Captain of the Industry”. Carnegie was a smart business man unlike most industry’s during his time instead of buying the other companies out he would make his prices lower than another producer which would send them out of business. He helped out many by making colleges for individuals to attend and he gave back to his community by donating 56 million dollars to build libraries.
The time period from when the Second Industrial Revolution was beginning, up until President McKinley’s assassination in 1901, is known as the Gilded Age. After the Civil War, many people headed out West to pursue agriculture, and many immigrants moved to urban areas to acquire jobs in industrial factories. It is in this context that farmers and industrial workers had to respond to industrialization. Two significant ways farmers and industrial workers responded to industrialization in the Gilded Age, were creating the Populist Party and the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
In Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth”, Carnegie proposed a system of which he thought was best to dispose of “surplus wealth” through progress of the nation. Carnegie wanted to create opportunities for people “lift themselves up” rather than directly give money to these people. This was because he considered that giving money to these people would be “improper spending”. Through Social Darwinism, he hoped to dispose of the problems of: the Darwinian intellectual revolution, Eugenies, and the hierarchy of race. However his system was inherently flawed because Carnegie built this system on racism and warmongering. This system was built to rationalize why the fittest class, or the white Anglo-saxon men, were always on top.
During the late nineteenth century, a form of Social Darwinism emerged called the Gospel of Wealth also known as the Success Gospel. Social Darwinism is “Herbert Spencer’s adaptation of Charles Darwin’s concepts of natural selection and “survival of the fittest” as it applies to human society” (Nash p. 417). Social Darwinists believed that the social order was the product of the natural selection of the individuals that were best suited for the existing living conditions. These individuals were white, Anglo-Saxon, wealthy men. This theory, Social Darwinism, was applied to the monopolistic efforts of businessmen as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. so eloquently stated: “The growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest” (Nash p. 417). The Gospel of Wealth based on Social Darwinism is the notion that the massive wealth held by prosperous businessmen was for the social benefit of everyone. The advocates of the Gospel of Wealth such as Andrew Carnegie, Russell Conwell, and Horatio Alger linked wealth with a sense of heightened responsibility as those with more wealth had an equally great obligation to society.
The late nineteenth century was a pivotal moment in American history. During this time, the Industrial Revolution transformed the nation, railroads had dissipated all throughout the country, and economic classes began to form, separating the wealthy from the poor. One of the wealthiest men of this generation was Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant who fled to America to make millions off the railroad, oil and even steel businesses. Carnegie is considered one of the richest men in history, and even with all that wealth he decided to give back to the community. As a matter of fact, Carnegie donated most of his funds to charities, universities and libraries in his last few years. He believed that if the wealthy don't give back some of their profits to the community, they are living a dishonorable life, and although I didn't necessarily agree with this radical viewpoint at first, I now am a firm believer in Carnegie's argument about wealth.