Were the industrialist leaders of the gilded age captains of their industry or robber barons?

Essay by foxy3529High School, 11th gradeA, June 2003

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Examination of Industrialist Leaders - Final Draft

Soon after the Reconstruction period, an era known as the Gilded Age erupted. During the 1870's - 1890's, America took a drastic leap into industrialization. Immigrants swarmed into the United States with the distinct hope of opportunity. Big business was soon in effect with a newly acquired demand for raw material. Shortly, monopolies emerged. These industrial leaders, whom were ingenious to the game, established their wealth from the suffrage of factory workers, oblivious farmers and displaced American Indians. These leaders can not be considered anything less than malicious robber barons.

The marketing of the United Stases was extreme. Immigrants arrived in large quantities seeking the promised land of opportunity. In 1890, the American people numbered 63 million, which doubles the 1860 population. Suddenly, a surplus of workers arrived. Lowers wages resulted as the numbers of labors increased. Factory workers slaved themselves for countless hours a day for mere pennies.

Working conditions were more dangerous then ever and the absence of insurance coverage or workers compensation left many forlorn. While working conditions decreased, business grew.

"Big Business" became so big that monopolies were created. Fortunes were created from various railroad profits, finance, retailing and inheritance. Over 200,000 miles of track were built all over the United States to help construct a more transversal nation. These robber barons are better known as manipulators of finance rather then successful entrepreneurs. Massive profit was made with the right investment in the appropriate area. Carefully thought out profits led to numerous investments that only politicians and the selected wealthy could afford. Railroads, oil refineries and some retail chains soon were outweighing small businesses and farmers by millions. The labor that the hard-working citizens produced only led to the financial benefits that the robber barons or "industrial...