Robber Barons Or Captains Of Industry

859 Words4 Pages
The men who built America are viewed today as either “Robber Barons” or “Captains of Industry”. According to dictionary.com a Robber Baron is “a person who has become rich through ruthless and unscrupulous business practices. A Captain of Industry is “a business leader whose means of accumulating a personal fortune contributed positively to the country in some way.” These men are Robber Barons rather than Captains of Industry because of the unfair ways they got to the top, the cruel ways they treated their workers, and the rivalries they created with each other. The men who built America had a lot of money. It's said that they had enough money to reinvest in themselves and still have money to spare. They were relentless, and would do whatever…show more content…
They also signed deals with others in secret, or by going behind someone’s back. In other words, the business leaders couldn’t be trusted. For example, Cornelius Vanderbilt went behind John D. Rockefeller’s back when he joined forces with Thomas Scott, another leading railroad industrialist. Rockefeller had previously made deals with them both to sell his kerosene, however they teamed up making him pay higher prices. He went on to stop selling them kerosene altogether, and ran pipes through the ground to transport his kerosene throughout the country. These successful businessmen also stole each other's businesses. Rockefeller purchased a steel mine out from under Andrew Carnegie, the leader in steel. John P. Morgan purchased Carnegie's business completely for four hundred eighty million dollars in 1901, changing the name to U.S. Steel. The men who built America used their mass amounts of money to get what they wanted done, done. For…show more content…
The rivalries they created with one another not only made their working environments even more hostile, it made them willing to do whatever necessary to get to the top of their industries. Each man, Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, wanted to outdo the others. They all wanted to have the most money. When Vanderbilt was still in the picture, he held the title of the richest man alive. Rockefeller did everything he could to try and change this. He made deals with people that he probably would’ve never made if he hadn’t been trying to outdo Vanderbilt.. The men wanted more than anything to outsmart one another. Every one of the moves they made was to try and throw a curveball at the competition. For example, Carnegie never saw Morgan’s offer coming when he proposed to buy Carnegie Steel, but Carnegie accepted the offer and became the richest man alive. The feuding between the men didn't only affect them, but it made their working environments more hazardous. When Andrew Carnegie wanted to start pocketing more money, he allowed Frick to let the working conditions of Carnegie Steel deteriorate, and men died because of it. The men who built america used unfair and barbaric tactics to get to the top of their industries. The ways they treated their workers and each other were cruel and unacceptable. Some might argue that these men are
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