This rapid industrialization created wide gaps in society, and the government, which had originally taken a hands off approach to business, was forced to step in. Many individuals took advantage of the rapid industrialization and high influx of cheap labor in the form of immigrants. Among these entrepreneurs were John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and George Pullman. Each made a name for themselves by forging their own corporate empire. Rockefeller was an industrialist and philanthropist who made his fortune by founding the Standard Oil Company in 1870.
By the end of his life, Rockefeller had given away half of his fortune. But even his vast philanthropy could not erase the memory of his predatory business practices. Who was Rockefeller? Was he a ruthless businessman who only wanted to belittle the American dream of small business people who believed in hard work and determinedness, or was he someone who had a vision for making a more efficient and established America? The world’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller Sr. held ninety percent of the world’s oil refineries, ninety percent of the marketing of oil, and a third of all the oil wells.
Citizens were enraged, with big businesses' growing influence in all branches of government and sought ways to purify it. Big Business was also a target of progressivism. During this time presidents like Roosevelt and William Howard Taft tried to regulate and control big business. Many well educated people of the time, as well as moderately prosperous businessmen and members of other professions(middle class) felt threatened by the increasing power of big business and the tycoons. These people were also disturbed by the Big business' influence in politics, making a mockery of the democratic system.
Morgan also got a stranglehold on several other industries by buying out Carnegie Steel, oil companies, and railroads. Morgan soon went back to his roots and started acquiring more banks, financial firms, and insurance providers. (Moritz 35-39) Today, J. P. Morgan and Company is known as JPMorgan Chase, easily the world's largest global financial services firm. As you can see, the business world we know today would not have been possible without some of the many advances that took place in the Gilded Age, and although newer laws and standards in the business prevent big business tycoons from becoming as powerful as they once were in the Gilded Age, we still see signs today of what business leaders such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan all contributed to the business world.
Andrew Carnegie built the biggest steal business in the world. One main reason why steel was in such demand was due to the expansion of railroads. Before steel, railroads ran on weak iron, which would crack and brake. By 1900, Carnegie Steel earned a whopping $40 million a year (Roark, 547). Carnegie believed that big businesses such as this actually improved the overall wellbeing of the nation- rich and poor.
Although the author believes the development of the large corporations during the Industrial Revolution hindered the pursuit of the individual’s American Dream, the large businesses actually set the foundation for today’s economy and offered new opportunities for success. The author expresses his grievances towards industrialized businesses during the Gilded Age and supports the American farmer. Therefore, the author references the “fakers” as fraud politicians who did not support the beliefs of the Populist Party. He then characterizes the “makers” as the independent business owners and farmers because they made lives for themselves without a strong dependency on these “dictatorship-like” businesses. The author primarily focuses on voicing his reproach for the “takers” of the Gilded Age, or the monopolistic business owners such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.
The manufacturing middle class took the place of feudal guilds, but they could not keep up with the increasing demand. This led to the industrial revolution. The manufacturing middle class was replaced by the modern bourgeoisie, or the industrial upper class. The bourgeoisie rose to power through competition alone, or the fight for power and wealth. The bourgeoisie had the most wealth, and therefore gained the most powe... ... middle of paper ... ...ted that society is moving forward.
Railroads emerged rapidly and so did the scandals. Cruel, manipulative people dominated the country with their big businesses. Corporations came about, along with stock to raise money for them. The more money the corporation could raise through stock the closer they were to achieve economies of scale. Big businesses would sometimes come close to becoming monopolies that controlled the whole market.
While these companies allowed for the United States to become an international competitor, they did so at the cost of the workers and average consumer. These industrial leaders are justifiably characterized as “robber barons.” Perhaps the industry that had the largest impact on the development of the United States; the railroads were the first big business in the nation. They divided the nation into four time zones and encouraged mass production and mass consumption. Most importantly they created stockholder corporations, complex finance structures, and regulation of competition. The problem of competition was a result of overbuilding, mismanagement, and fraud.
Robber barons were American capitalist who acquired great fortunes in the last nineteenth century, usually ruthlessly. There was much turmoil throughout the business and labor community. Two major organizations, the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, helped represent the workers in this time of chaos. The Knights of Labor, founded in 1869, were representing both skilled and unskilled workers. They were quite popular with a large boost in membership becoming the biggest union in 1885.