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Robber Barons Dbq

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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. A prime example of corrupt businessmen is seen through a popular political cartoon. This cartoon, document 5, portrays the Standard Oil Company as a manipulative octopus that controls the government and the economy. With the rise of powerful businesses in the late 19th century, the artist behind this cartoon hoped to expose the corrupt foundation of these million dollar companies. The big businessmen are clearly portrayed as…show more content…
Justification of this is seen in Document 3, as Andrew Carnegie writes, “The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmony.” Surely, a manipulative man would not believe in such fair distribution of wealth. Carnegie is also famous for large charitable donations, meaning his business methods were not enacted solely for his own benefit. This statement highlights Carnegie’s compassionate side and proves that he is not completely a “robber baron.” Similarly to Carnegie, Rockefeller’s compassionate side is also portrayed in Document 7. Document 7 lists multiple generous donations, adding up to be $506,816,041.18 in total- an absolute fortune. These acts of generosity counteract historians’ accusations of businessmen and proves that their statement is only true to some
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