The Robber Barons : The Rise Of Robber Barons

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From 1865 to 1900, a surge in industry and business began to come into effect. Railroads, oil, steel, and various inventions enabled the rise of these businesses. As time went on, the leaders of the businesses would become more eager to achieve wealth. Some historians have described these people as ‘robber barons’ or people who use extreme methods to control and maintain their wealth and power. Others would chastise that belief, declaring that it is an unjust conclusion to draw. Despite the oppositions fervent belief, the undeniable evidence supports the belief that many of the businessmen in the late 19th century were ‘robber barons’. These men had a blatant disregard for human lives and an unquenchable urge to assume control over citizens’ lives that instilled corruption and greed in them. One of the most prominent bodies of proof is the lack of care for the worker’s and the public’s well being. A businessman, William H. Vanderbilt, revealed his own morality when asked about his motives for laying his railroads. A reporter from the Chicago Daily News asked Vanderbilt if he was motivated by the benefit to the public. To which, Vanderbilt candidly responded, “The public be damned (...) I don’t take any stock in this silly nonsense about working for anybody’s good but our own” (Doc 1). Vanderbilt inadvertently revealed a significant truth about himself and his fellow businessmen. Vanderbilt did not care about how his business (railroads) would affect the public. The only

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