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The American tycoons during the 19th to the early 20th centuries called the robber barons
created massive empires while accumulating unprecedented levels of wealth. The robber barons
amassed great fortunes usually at the expense of the workers who earned relatively low wages
that couldn’t even support their families. The barons made their wealth through questionable
means which included stock market manipulation, monopolizing business, and even by
employee abuse. The primary complaint that got raised against the robber barons was that they
were monopolists. The industrialists practiced monopoly to expand their business empires in the
country. The group of individuals raised prices and restricted output after using the laws to their
favor. Most often they did these activities lawfully. Offering gifts to politicians and other
policymakers was a tactic widely used in turning the tides in their favor in the business world.
Some of the businessmen gained more wealth through political entrepreneurship. The so-called
robber barons included people like Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and J.P Morgan who
were wealthy entrepreneurs. The railroad tycoons got privileged access from the government by
widely using lobbyists. The tycoons, in turn, received monopolistic licenses and vast land grants.
An in-depth historical review shows that these individuals may have played a hand in changing
the economic landscape of the nation both positively and negatively. The tycoons started
educational institutions like universities which some funded. Several of them contributed and
started the educational institutions like Stanford and Duke. Additionally, they gave their fortunes
to help build hospitals. However, the country also witnessed several strikes during the 1800s and
rebelled after the unfavorable economic system. It saw the rise of labor struggles and rebellions
spew from workers all over the country. The people challenged the economic systems but were
met with the brutal force of the law. The essay discusses how several notable authors explored
the issue of the robber barons in their articles.
Primarily, the article by Zinn delivers a historical review of the Second Industrialization
period, which saw the rise of the wealthy industrialists. The article explores the several
businesses that the businessmen engaged and further explained the dealings that took place to
facilitate their acquisition of wealth. The historical piece narrates detailed events complete with
figures to elaborate on the nature of the acquired wealth. The article also provides the narrative
behind the strikes that also occurred during that period. The author also gave background
information of most of the wealthy barons. He stated, “Most of the multimi...