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To what extent was it justified to characterize the industrial leaders of the 19th century as either robber barons or industrial statesmen ? The Gilded Age was a century marked as having capitalism, corruption, and crude displays of wealth. The owners of the large companies put on the crude displays of wealth. Although some of the business owners wanted the workers to get rightfully paid for their labor. The following will explain how business leaders either thought too much of their own money to see how they were corrupting the business market, or how they were strong in their leadership for the progress of their company. Mark Twain named the Gilded Age , gilded meaning covered with gold. He believed that most of these business owners were robber barons and lived for the making of their own money. How these owners went about making their profits, he said, What is the chief end to a man? to get rich. In what way? dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must. What he meant was millionaires like Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt dishonestly received their high incometo be successful and rich.. Within the walls of a successful owner you were either considered a robber baron or captain of industry , depending on how you operated your business.. William Sumner wrote, if the captains of industry were successful win . great fortunes in a short time. (doc. G) If he was to talk about robber barons, he would have stated a different sentence. The captains of industry were well liked, unlike the millionaire robber barons. Carnegie, who was one of the top millionaires, looked to be the most concerned for the pubic and their income than any of the other owners. He wrote that the problem with this time was the bind between the rich and the poor. That the conditions of human life have been revolutionized within the past few hundred years. He also wrote that the wealthy should set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display of extravagance. Yet, he owned 40, 000 acres of land and lived on Fifth Ave. with all the other millionaires. His life was still one of the most modest of his friends . Although most millionaires didn t keep there moneymaking lives that modest. (doc.C) The owner of Standard Oil Co. knows the non-modest life to well. John D. Rockefeller s oil company took over 90 percent of all oil businesses. (seen in doc. F) He was only focused on his money and how his business could profit more. It got so out of control, the Department of Justice broke up the company on accounts of monopoly on oil refining. By making so much money, he was then able to donate much of it to schools, medical use, buildings and Baptist projects. This put him between the definition of robber barons and captain of industry. You would then go on to think that the owner of the railroads was out to help the people with their money and travels, but that was far from William Vanderbilts thoughts. His railroads improved services, but he would say, Public be damned . He said the R.R s were only built for the men who invest money. Meaning they were built for the rich advantages and not to benefit the dear public . (doc. A)

In respect for Rockefeller and Vanderbilt s doings, Russell Conwell agreed that rich was the best way to go. He claimed that the rich were the most honest men you [could] find in the community.. The rich became rich because they were the ones trusted with money he said. He and many others lived by the statement that you ought to get rich, and it s your duty to get rich. This helped them think more of just their money and not realizing how they were corrupting the government. (doc. E) The industrial statesmen tend to stand out more than the robber barons. You can tell by their work that their efforts in society were for the people and themselves and not for all the money. Take for instance Tomas Edison. He wrote that he would have the best equipped and largest Laboratory.. and that his company could make anything from a lady s watch to a Locomotive . This shows his great dedication for his work and the skilled workers he has. He knows the correct way to run a business and how to pick the right men for the job. He strives for better service and products. (doc.B) James Weaver stands behind the industrial statesman and his role for wanting a good, capable business. Walker has discussed that trusts are conflict with the common law . The trusts are monopolies that the companies organized to get rid of their competitors. The main weapons of trusts are threats, intimidation, bribery, fraud, wreck, and pillage. All those in favor of the trusts are robber barons. They try to manipulate other companies and destroy their existence. Very little do invest in trusts to help their companies greatly, but for a good cause only. The Captains of industry tried to organize new industries and have better services for them. They also provided good jobs for the workers and gave much of their money to charity. The Robber Barons made millions without noticing their workers small income. They were focused on inflating prices, destroying competitors, and the corrupted the government. Talking about these millionaires as either industrial statesman or robber barons has gone to some extent. This extent is necessary, though for the correct understanding of how these millionaires ran their business. If they influenced Mark Twain in the naming of the Gilded Age or if they really did help out the U.S financially. The U.S had many factories and businesses that ran well, but they didn t have unity. There were constant wars between businesses and strikes between the people and the business. This made the economic world fall without getting civilization between the two.


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