Pur3Lyf3 asked in Social ScienceEconomics · 1 decade ago

captins of industry or robber barons?

ok i need to know what you think about these four men and why.

jay gould(railroad Business)

cornelius Vanderbilt(railroad Business)

andrew carnegie(steel buis.)

john rockefeller(oil buis.)

you prolly would have to know the history behind these men and what robber barons were and captains of industry.

but id like to see what you think. all answers welcome.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    jay gould(railroad Business) - Robber Baron

    cornelius Vanderbilt(railroad Business - rival of Gould - anti-Robber Baron?

    andrew carnegie(steel buis.) - not really a Robber Baron - Gospel of WEALTH BOOK.

    john rockefeller(oil buis.) called Robber Baron by author Josephson.

    Dependimg on how you view business ethics, you can call all of them robber baros or only some of them.

    Appearing in literature during the late 19th century, the Robber Baron thesis was popular until the 1940s. Matthew Josephson's The Robber Barons gave the term its most enduring expression.[2] The theme had much popularity during the Great Depression as there was widespread public scorn against big business.

    But by the end of the Great Depression, other historians, notably Allan Nevins, began advocating the "Industrial Statesman" thesis. Nevins, in his John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise (2 vols., 1940), took on Josephson directly. He argued that while Rockefeller may have engaged in unethical and illegal business practices, this should not overshadow his greater contribution of bringing order to the industrial chaos of the day. Gilded Age capitalists, according to Nevins, sought to impose their will for order and stability on the competitive business environment. Their work ultimately made the United States the foremost economy by the twentieth century.[3]

    The whole Robber-Baron-or-Industrial-Statesman debate was sidestepped by Alfred D. Chandler in The Visible Hand (1977). There Chandler contended that the business of industrializing America was a historical process and not a morality play of good versus evil. As he later expressed, "What could be less likely to produce useful generalizations than a debate over vaguely defined moral issues based on unexamined ideological assumptions and presuppositions?"[

    Due to the robber barons' unethical business practices, such as the exploitation of labor, the general public typically regards these aggressive capitalists with disdain. However, some historians argue that the late-19th century entrepreneurs usually referred to as "robber barons" - including Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller - are responsible for building a large portion of the U.S.'s current economic clout, because of their large investments in burgeoning American industries. Many also went on to become high-profile philanthropists.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the answer is a matter of prospective. These men made huge fortunes compared to the common man, but their companies employed thousands. So, did they earn the massive wealth as well as build companies and industries that gave others wages? Yes as all have said they gave massively to the public good - Universities and in the case of Carnegie - hundreds of public libraries (the city I live in as well as several others in Hamilton Co. IN have examples of these) They build businesses from nothing (not sure but I think all were immigrants or 1st generation Americans)

    I would look more at the current crop of CEO's that have run companies into the ground and walk away with millions in "golden parachutes" as Robber Barons - in the Free Enterprise System if your company fails you should not walk with millions - just my opinion

    Source(s): social studies teacher/business owner
  • 1 decade ago

    If they leave their wealth for the benefit of man after they have left this world, or at least gave something in return, then captains of industry. Otherwise, robber barons.

    The last three endowed universities, museums, libraries, hospitals etc. not so sure what gould left behind other than railroads.

  • 1 decade ago

    Robber barons! No different from the gang of burglars running the City and Wall St. today. The centrist politicians are even worse, since their blatant acquiescence and their turning a blind eye to all the shenanigans going on down there is what led to the mess we have today.

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  • 1 decade ago

    They were all robber barons.

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