The Robber Barons Of The Gilded Age

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In 1900, New York became the second largest city in the world. This was the result of monopolies capitalizing in America. Industries were booming; however, the common people were suffering greatly. The men behind these monopolies, incorrectly known by many as captains of industry, are more accurately known as robber barons. While this remains true, the business men of the Gilded Age were captains of industry to an extent. One of the most prominent captains of industry, Carnegie, donated a large sum of money to charity at the end of his life because he believed in the Gospel of Wealth, as he stated in 1889 (Doc C). Carnegie also helped make America more efficient by using vertical integration. According to E. Levasseur, efficiency was…show more content…
One reason this name fits better is because they often exploited their workers. Henry George demonstrated this in his book, Progress and Poverty, by talking about the ever growing wage gap between the lower and upper class workers (Doc A). In 1889, a cartoon titled The Robber Barons of Today gave a literal insight as to how awful the exploitation got, showing scrawny farmers surrendering their money to fat well-dressed men (Doc D). The populist presidential candidate of 1892, James B. Weaver, even went as far as saying “trusts had no conscience” (Doc E). Really, the only people who favored the robber barons were the government to expand the U.S. Coal mines would often only take a worker if he agreed to bring his son with him. Of course, the work was very dangerous, pay was minimal, and conditions were horrific. The scrawny boys were about the age of twelve and had a forever-present coat of coal on them from head to toe (Doc G). Because of this, they were enemy to farmers and industrial workers alike. In conclusion, these elite businessmen were ruthless, powerful leaders better defined as robber barons than captains of industry. All of them were in it for the money and only cared to give back at the end of their lives when they didn’t need it anymore. They justified this under Social Darwinism and the Gospel of Wealth, but the general public didn’t see eye to eye on their
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