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Robber Barons Essay, Research Paper

Robber Barons

When the names Carnagie, Rockefeller, and Edison come to mind,

most of us automatically think of what we saw or read in our history books: “These men were kind and generous and through hard work and perseverance, any one of you could become a success story like them,” right? Wrong. I am sick of these people being remembered for the two or three “good deeds” they have done. Publicity and media have exaggerated the generosity of these men, the

Government has spoiled these names with false lies, and people have been blind to see that these men were ruthless, sly businessmen who were motivated by your money and their struggle for power. How many history books teach such in-depth details like these? A prime example of the acts of a robber baron can be seen through the actions of John D. Rockefeller. A picture I have recently seen shows a group of people watching an old Rockefeller crouch over to accept a flower from a little girl. The caption reads “John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist, is caught doing one of his good deeds.” No wonder that only a handful of people can’t distinguish that this old man was a crock and deserves to rot in hell! With all this positive media attention, the public had been fed lies! In real life, this money hungry, greedy villain is the prime reason why the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed. Rockefeller’s dream was to monopolize the oiling industry, and he so successfully did. Because of his great empire (the Standard Oil Co.) and the wealth it brought, when any other competitor tried even to step foot into the oiling industry, Rockefeller dropped his prices until the rookie industry was forced out. After he regained monopoly, he then jacked up the prices. Sure, the people were mad, but what could they do? Many other industries depended on the oil that Rockefeller provided and besides, the Sherman Antitrust Act couldn’t be enforced with these big businesses growing larger and larger.

Another Robber Baron donated over 2500 libraries worldwide, he helped establish the famous concert hall in New York, and he helped finance several colleges in the US. Can you guess who he is? Yes! Andrew Carnagie. Now how about this person: In the early 1900s, in order to maintain control of the steel industry, he bought out rival plants, he ran a self running holding company which bough stock in itself in order to buy control of the industry, and he also hired children (as young as 9 years old) to work twelve hours a day under harsh, dangerous conditions and paid them the lowest wages possible. Can you guess who he is now? As a matter of fact it is our “American Hero” Andrew Carnagie! Carnagie did, for a fact, hire children because they were “cheaper”; yet these same children were sometimes required to run swing shifts which meant occasional 24 hour work days. It all too much of a commonality that these robber barons all share some of the same traits: ruthlessness, mistreatment of their workers, greed for money and power, and a Machiavelian way of doing business. With these traits in mind, who can consider these men heroes? It’s the government and the big businesses which want us to think that way. It can only be them who portray these wicked as saints. But I am educated, and through research and learning, I am thoroughly convinced that the people who our America looks up to and admires, are a bunch of villains.

Although many of “America’s Heros’s” have turned out to be greedy Robber Barons, I disagree with anyone who considers Thomas Edison one of these. We have had many great inventors and Thomas Alva Edison is among them. The creator of many inventions including the electric lamp, stock printer, light bulb, phonograph, and literally hundreds of other useful inventions. He

worked at a railroad station when he was only twelve years old. That is where he was lead to the invention of both the Stock printer and the telegraph transmitter, as well as many other patents dealing with telegraphs such as the Automatic Telegraph, Duplex Telegraphs, Quadruplex Telegraph Repeater, Telephonic Telegraphs, and Acoustic Telegraphs. When he was working at the train

station a choice that he had no idea would lead to his interest in telegraphs came about. The station operator’s son had fallen on the tracks. Thomas made a wise decision and decided that he could help him and ran down and got him off the tracks with just about 15 seconds to spare. Because of that the station operator decided to teach Edison about telegraphs. Five years later Edison was given a

job as a telegraph operator in Boston, Massachusetts. After having that job for a short time Edison found how he could improve how things were done and that is how all the inventions for telegraphs came about. Many other things also made him such a great inventor.

Edison could have settled with the job as a telegraph operator, which he did for a few years but at nights on his free time he would continuously work on inventions trying to make things better. Because of that great desire he came up with many new things that made life easier for everyone. So many things in life have been made easier by Thomas Alva Edison’s hard work, which brought about 1,093 patents to his name.


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