Captains of Industry or Robber Barons
There are many powerful and rich men who come and go through a nations history books. It is determined as to weather or not these men deserve positive recognition based on their deeds for the country that they work for. The dominant and wealthy men are placed into two categories. Robber Barons, people who steal money from the public, drained the country of its natural resources, and corrupted society; or there are the people who did receive large amounts of money, but gave it back to the country in different charitable forms, these men are known as Captains of Industry.
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I believe three of the world s richest men every, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan, should all be classified as Captains of Industry. These men all did a lot for our nation and used their money to provide us with stability and aid when and where we needed it most.
First of these three men was Andrew Carnegie, born in 1835, in Scotland. Carnegie and his family immigrated to the U.S. due to money problems. He grew up working various jobs, in a cotton factory, as a telegraph operator, and finally, the post of secretary to the superintendent of the Pennsylvania railroad.
When his boss had gone off to the war department during the civil war, Carnegie took over at the young age of eighteen. This is where his success had begun. He soon began to invest and make money, and in the early 1870 s, Carnegie began his steel business. His business made him a
wealthy man at a rapid pace, but Carnegie always used his money on the right thing. He made several donations to charities and contributed millions of dollars to the U.S. people. He did a lot for our country such as increasing the availability of goods by building factories, raising productivity, expanding markets, and creating more jobs.
Carnegie believed the wealthy had a moral obligation to serve as stewards for society according to his book The Gospel of Wealth. He had done this by funding and founding many great museums, many universities, and three thousand libraries; and in 1905, he also established the Carnegie Teachers Fund with endowments of ten million dollars. All of this did a lot for the people at that time, it helps to aid a better future for society. Carnegie also had done a lot to help aid in the correction of violence, he believed in peace. For example, in 1910, he donated money to advance the cause of peace and he built the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica, and, he also financed the Palace of Peace.
He wanted to ameliorate to tensions between countries, and in doing so, Carnegie did a positive deed for the Americans with his wealth. He contributed his earnings throughout a good portion of his life, spending over ninety percent of his fortune altogether. He had even spent his remaining money of one hundred and twenty-five million dollars on creating the Carnegie Corporation in hopes of aiding colleges, universities, technical schools, and scientific research.
It is true that this man had made a fortune, making a lot of people hostile towards him, but he had done the best thing with all of his money and in doing so, many American people benefited from the earnings of this man.
Besides Andrew Carnegie, John. D. Rockefeller was a self-made millionaire also. He earned his money in the oil business, creating his very own company called Standard oil. This company had brought in much money for Rockefeller, due to the increasing demand for oil. Almost instantly, Rockefeller became rather prosperous. But the minute his money started to roll in, Rockefeller just as quickly gave it away. He started in 1889 with minor contributions, such as money to fund a new Baptist church in Chicago.
Then, in 1901, he opened the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Still, a fairly new Philanthropist, Rockefeller did what he thought he could for the people. But his efforts grew with his age and profit. One year after opening his medical research institute, Rockefeller started to help the south. He created the General Education Board to promote education in the south without distinction of race. And with-in six years later, he financed a campaign to fight hookworm down in the south. He was really a person who had cared about the people, trying to help out as much as possible. An example of this was in 1913 when he created the Rockefeller Foundation and donated one hundred million dollars within its first year.
This foundation was incorporated to promote the well being of mankind thorough out the world according to Rockefeller himself. No robber baron would give up the money that they stole to aiding the people, but Rockefeller did. By 1913 he had done so much for his society, but I believe some of his greatest achievements were yet to come. When world war one had began, Rockefeller
donated millions to international relief agencies. And one of his last achievements was in the year of 1931, this marked the beginning of the construction of Rockefeller Center. The place would provide seventy-five thousand jobs for the people during the middle of the Great Depression. This man had really cared, and that is evident from his many accomplishments in helping our nation. He didn’t steal the American’s money, but rather earned it, and gave it back in a positive way.
One final fortune maker was J. Pierpont Morgan who was born in 1837 to a very prominent family in Hartford, Connecticut. He grew up in Boston and went across seas to study, knowing he would inherit his family s business. At the age of forty-two he had fully inherited his fathers business. J.P. Morgan soon becomes famous as an art collector and also as a great philanthropist. This man had worked a hard life to acquire his money, but he was well known for sharing it. Like the other man, he received lots of money from the Americans by using his business with the Railroads and various Banks. But he was right beside the Americans side when the U.S Treasury had asked for his help.
For example, in 1895 he offered the U.S. Treasury a sixty-five million-dollar loan. If J.P. Morgan was a robber baron, and only cared about the money then I don t think he would have lend out such a great deal of money to help the people when they had needed it most. Morgan had also done various things for the people of America; such as raising capital in Europe to help the U.S. recovery from various complications. With the money he had received, J.P. Morgan helped reorganize bankrupt railroads, stabilize markets in
times of crisis, and set up many of the corporate and financial structures of which we take for granted. This man has been there for the people, contributing a lot for our nation with the money he had earned. One last thing that Morgan had done with his money was to build a library of his own, which, during his lifetime, he contributed parts of it to Museums, Cathedrals, churches, and hospitals. But eleven years after his death, J.P. Morgan Jr. fulfilled his father’s dream by making the library and it s treasures available to the public.
This library was filled with important music manuscripts, early children s book, Americana, early printed books, also, a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, and old master drawings and prints. All this helped in providing an institution dedicated to serving scholars and the public. I find these all to be great achievements by J.P. Morgan, made possible by the money he earned, not stole.
These men are three great examples of Captain of Industries. They all founded a great industry that had produced lots of money, and in return, tried to stabilize our nation with the money. I feel as if they didn’t steal the money because each of these men had earned their living; it just happened to be a lot of money due to the increasing supply of steel, oil, and railroads. For many years they tried to prove themselves as hard-working, passionate, and very caring individuals. Therefore, these men should be credited for all the great things they have done for our country.
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