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Robber barron's and rebels essay help

Mar 7, 2018

Robber Barons or Captains of Industry

Describe the impact of industrialization in the U.S. 1850-1910. Where the early industrialist Captains of Industry or Robber Barons. -Robber Barron: Used to describe a businessman that used ruthless business tactics to amass a huge personal wealth. -Captain of Industry: Used to describe to describe a businessman whose means of amassing their fortune contributes positively to the country in some way.

Industrial Captain vs. Robber Barron
In the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s the United States was changing immensely. There were breakthroughs in technology leading to changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. At the fore front of these developments were men waiting to jump in. With startup money and determination some would go on to amass a personal fortune larger than the U.S. government itself. Through the use of lower wages, union exterminations, and channeling money towards buildings rather than people, robber barons abused their positions. Industrialists of the time period abused their positions to justify cutting wages through political machines, forcing their employees into twelve hour work days, and firing bottom line workers, in the belief that this was vital for the growth of the United States. They believed that without lowering the wages of their employees, products like steel would not be affordable. However, lowering wages was never an essential measure to make steel affordable; this was all a plot to squeeze any possible revenue from the business. Though I believe that most of the industrialist of this period to be greedy, and unconcerned about anything but wealth I also believe that some of these men meant well and deserve the title of Captain of Industry. One of the captains of industry of 19th century America, Andrew Carnegie helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his age. Later in his life, Carnegie sold his steel business and... Continue Reading

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Describe the impact of industrialization in the U.S. 1850-1910. Where the early industrialist Captains of Industry or Robber Barons. -Robber Barron: Used to describe a businessman that used ruthless business tactics to amass a huge personal wealth. -Captain of Industry: Used to describe to describe a businessman whose means of amassing their fortune contributes positively to the country in some way.Industrial Captain vs. Robber BarronIn the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s the United States was changing immensely. There were breakthroughs in technology leading to changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. At the fore front of these developments were men waiting to jump in. With startup money and determination some would go on to amass a personal fortune larger than the U.S. government itself. Through the use of lower wages, union exterminations, and channeling money towards buildings rather than people, robber barons abused their positions. Industrialists of the time period abused their positions to justify cutting wages through political machines, forcing their employees into twelve hour work days, and firing bottom line workers, in the belief that this was vital for the growth of the United States. They believed that without lowering the wages of their employees, products like steel would not be affordable. However, lowering wages was never an essential measure to make steel affordable; this was all a plot to squeeze any possible revenue from the business. Though I believe that most of the industrialist of this period to be greedy, and unconcerned about anything but wealth I also believe that some of these men meant well and deserve the title of Captain of Industry. One of the captains of industry of 19th century America, Andrew Carnegie helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his age. Later in his life, Carnegie sold his steel business and...

The one characteristic of authentic power that most people overlook is humbleness. It is important for many reasons. A humble person walks in a friendly world. He or she sees friends everywhere he or she looks, wherever he or she goes, whomever he or she meets. His or her perception goes beyond the shell of appearance and into essence. Gary Zukav

Often regarded as the most unethical of the Robber Barons, he was involved with Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed early in his career. After damaging his reputation in a gold speculation that instigated the panic of Black Friday in 1869, he went on to gain control of western railroads and by 1882 had controlling interest in 15% of the country's tracks. Although mistrusted by many of his contemporaries, he was recognized as a skilled businessman and entrepreneur.

Puck Magazine, critical of those who are carving up the country for their own benefit.

Let Them Have It All, And Be Done With It! (1882): A satirical cartoon from the German language edition of, critical of those who are carving up the country for their own benefit.

"Robber baron" is a derogatory metaphor of social criticism originally applied to certain late 19th-century American businessmen who used unscrupulous methods to get rich.

Usage

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The term robber baron derives from the Raubritter (robber knights), the medieval German lords who charged nominally illegal tolls (unauthorized by the Holy Roman Emperor) on the primitive roads crossing their lands[1] or larger tolls along the Rhine river — all without adding anything of value, but instead lining their pockets at the cost of the common good (rent seeking).

The metaphor appeared as early as February 9, 1859, when The New York Times used it to characterize the unethical business practices by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Historian T.J. Stiles says the metaphor, "conjures up visions of titanic monopolists who crushed competitors, rigged markets, and corrupted government. In their greed and power, legend has it, they held sway over a helpless democracy."[2] Charles R. Geisst says, "in a Darwinist age, Vanderbilt developed a reputation as a plunderer who took no prisoners."[3] Hal Bridges said that the term represented the idea that "business leaders in the United States from about 1865 to 1900 were, on the whole, a set of avaricious rascals who habitually cheated and robbed investors and consumers, corrupted government, fought ruthlessly among themselves, and in general carried on predatory activities comparable to those of the robber barons of medieval Europe."[4]

The term combines the pejorative senses of criminal ("robber") and aristocrat ("barons" having no legitimate role in a republic). Hostile cartoonists might dress the offenders in royal garb to underscore the offense against democracy.[5]

Criticism

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Historian John Tipple has examined the writings of the 50 most influential analysts who used the robber baron model in the 1865-1914 period. He argues:

The originators of the Robber Baron concept were not the injured, the poor, the faddists, the jealous, or a dispossessed elite, but rather a frustrated group of observers led at last by protracted years of harsh depression to believe that the American dream of abundant prosperity for all was a hopeless myth....Thus the creation of the Robber Baron stereotype seems to have been the product of an impulsive popular attempt to explain the shift in the structure of American society in terms of the obvious. Rather than make the effort to understand the intricate processes of change, most critics appeared to slip into the easy vulgarizations of the "devil-view" of history which ingenuously assumes that all human misfortunes can be traced to the machinations of an easily located set of villains - in this case, the big businessmen of America. This assumption was clearly implicit in almost all of the criticism of the period.[6]

American historian Matthew Josephson further popularized the term during the Great Depression in a 1934 book.[7] Josephson alleged that, like the German princes, American big businessmen amassed huge fortunes immorally, unethically, and unjustly. The theme was popular during the 1930s amid public scorn for big business. Historian Steve Fraser says the mood was sharply hostile toward big business:

Biographies of Mellon, Carnegie and Rockefeller were often laced with moral censure, warning that “tories of industry” were a threat to democracy and that parasitism, aristocratic pretension and tyranny have always trailed in the wake of concentrated wealth, whether accumulated dynastically or more impersonally by the faceless corporation. This scholarship, and the cultural persuasion of which it was an expression, drew on a deeply rooted sensibility–partly religious, partly egalitarian and democratic–that stretched back to William Jennings Bryan, Andrew Jackson and Tom Paine.[8]


However a counterattack by academic historians began as the Depression ended. Business historian Allan Nevins challenged this view of American big businessmen by advocating the "Industrial Statesman" thesis. Nevins, in his John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise (2 vols., 1940), took on Josephson. He argued that while Rockefeller may have engaged in some unethical and illegal business practices, this should not overshadow his bringing order to the industrial chaos of the day. Gilded Age capitalists, according to Nevins, sought to impose order and stability on competitive business, and that their work made the United States the foremost economy by the 20th century.[9]

In 1958 Bridges reported that, "The most vehement and persistent controversy in business history has been that waged by the critics and defenders of the “robber baron” concept of the American businessman."[10] Richard White, historian of the transcontinental railroads, stated in 2011 he has no use for the concept, which has been killed off by historians Robert Wiebe and Alfred Chandler. He notes that, "Much of the modern history of corporations is a reaction against the Robber Barons and fictions."[11]

Recent approaches

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In the popular culture the metaphor continues. In 1975 the student body of Stanford University voted to use "Robber Barons" as the nickname for their sports teams. However, school administrators disallowed it, saying it was disrespectful to the school's founder, Leland Stanford.[12]

In academe, the education division of the National Endowment for the Humanities has prepared a lesson plan for schools asking whether "robber baron" or "captain of industry" is the better terminology. They state:

In this lesson, you and your students will attempt to establish a distinction between robber barons and captains of industry. Students will uncover some of the less honorable deeds as well as the shrewd business moves and highly charitable acts of the great industrialists and financiers. It has been argued that only because such people were able to amass great amounts of capital could our country become the world's greatest industrial power. Some of the actions of these men, which could only happen in a period of economic laissez faire, resulted in poor conditions for workers, but in the end, may also have enabled our present day standard of living.[13]

This debate about the morality of certain business practices has continued in the popular culture, as in the performances in Europe in 2012 by Bruce Springsteen, who sang about bankers as "greedy thieves" and "robber barons."[14] During the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011, the term was used by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in his attacks on Wall Street. He said "We believe in this country; we love this country; and we will be damned if we’re going to see a handful of robber barons control the future of this country."[15] The business practices and political power of the billionaires of Silicon Valley has also led to their identification as robber barons.[16][17]

The metaphor has also been used to characterize Russian businessmen allied to Vladimir Putin.[18]

Philanthropy

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Rich industrialists in the U.S. have been major factors in philanthropy, funding and often starting many of the nation's universities, museums, hospitals and other private institutions.[19][20] Andrew Carnegie was the spokesman for the "Gospel of Wealth" whereby it was the duty of the rich to use the money for philanthropy. He founded around 3,000 libraries in U.S., his native Britain, and the British Empire, as well as several research and educational centers including Carnegie Institute of Technology.[21] Rockefeller retired from business in the 1890s and spent his last 40 years making large-scale national philanthropy systematic especially regarding medicine, education and scientific research. His top advisor Frederick Taylor Gates designed several very large philanthropies that were staffed by experts who designed ways to attack problems systematically rather than let the recipients decide how to deal with the problem.[22]

Albert Shaw editor of the magazine Review of Reviews in 1893 examined philanthropic activities of millionaires in several major cities. The highest rate was Baltimore where 49% of the millionaires were active givers; New York City ranked last. Cincinnati millionaires favored musical and artistic ventures; Minneapolis millionaires gave to the state university and the public library; Philadelphians often gave to overseas relief, and the education of blacks and Indians. Boston had a weak profile, apart from donations to Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital.[23]

List of businessmen labelled as robber barons

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The people here are listed in Josephson, Robber Barons or in the cited source,

See also

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References

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Further reading

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