Industrial Tycoons

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Industrial tycoons of the nineteenth century used whatever they could to get to the top of the economy, by either contributing positively or in some cases even if it meant destroying all the other industries that got in their way. In the nineteenth century, industrial tycoons were known as either a robber baron (Jay Gould) or a Captain of Industry (Henry Ford). Depending on how someone contributed to the growth of businesses, labeled them as one or the other. Some of the contributing factors that played an effect on identifying an industrialist as a robber baron or industry captain are how they came to power of the business industry, how they used their power, and how they gave back to society. These industrial tycoons were some of the wealthiest men in the US.

The term Robber Baron describes a leader that obtained their fortune by stealing from the public. Robber Barons drove their competitors to ruins to find their way to the top of the industry. They didn't only want to be the top competitor; they wanted to be the only competitor. So whatever they could do to take them down they did. They were American industrialists or financial magnates of the late 19th century who became wealthy by unethical means, such as questionable stock-market operations and exploitations of labor. To be a Captain of Industry means to be a business leader whose means of gathering a personal fortune contributes positively to the country in some way. This may have been through increased productivity, expansion of markets, or providing more jobs. Captains of Industry were more likely to be trusted than robber barons. Workers were treated better, paid better, and worked in better conditions.

Jay Gould was known as the king of all Robber Barons. As a railroad financier on the board of directors of the Erie Railroad, Gould earned a terrible reputation. Gould devalued company stock and tried to corner the market in gold, causing the U.S. Stock Market panic. In 1879 after being forced...
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