History Of The Gilded Age: Captains Of Industry Or Robber Barons

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Captains of Industry or Robber Barons? “What do I care about the law? Ain’t I got the power?” This is a quote from the business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was the leader of the railroad industry during the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age was a superficial period in the US History, in which the economy grew at a suprising rate. It started in the late 19th century and ended in the early 20th century. During this period, the entrepreneurs Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan and Anrew Carnegie founded large operations are known as trusts. These trusts helped them build their wealth and business empires and laid the foundation for modern America. To achieve this, the businessmen turned to methods that are seen as unscrupulous. Their methods and behavior led to a debate on wheter they are Captains of Industry, who contribute positively to the country, or Robber Barons, who utilized questionable tactics to reach their success. The industrialists of the Gilded Age were Robber Barons, because they treated workers badly, ruined competition and used manipulation and bribery to keep themselves in power. Firstly, the fact that the workers were treated badly helps build a strong case against the businessmen. The working class got paid very little for the long hours they worked. They weren’t…show more content…
In 1869, Jay Gould and Jim Fish bribed the U.S. Treasury into cornering the gold market, by stopping the gold circulation. This led to a rise in the prices of Gould and Fish’s hoarded gold (Hook Exercise). Also, John D. Rockefeller used spies and blackmail to get railroads to work in his favor and shut the competition out (Hook Exercise). These examples prove that the manipulation and bribery the businessmen resorted to worked in their favor and helped them maintain and build their empires, but also helped them to control their
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