An overview of the long history of robber barons

In the popular view, the late 19th century was a period of greed and guile:

An overview of the long history of robber barons

See Article History Robber baron, pejorative term for one of the powerful 19th-century U. The robber barons transformed the wealth of the American frontier into vast financial empires, amassing their fortunes by monopolizing essential industries.

In turn, these monopolies were built upon the liberal use of tactics that are today the hallmark of organized crime: John Jacob Astor Among the earliest of the robber barons was John Jacob Astora fur magnate who amassed his fortune through the monopoly held by his American Fur Company over the trade in the central and western United States during the first 30 years of the 19th century.

This monopoly was achieved in part by crushing rivals and systematically cheating Native Americans of fur pelts.

An overview of the long history of robber barons

With his riches, Astor routinely paid off politicians to protect his business interests. At the time of his death, Astor was considered the wealthiest person in the country. Fisk took much of the considerable money he made from smuggling Southern cotton to Northern mills during the American Civil War and invested it in Confederate bonds.

He then swindled European investors by selling short when the defeat of the Confederate army was imminent but before Europe learned that the Confederate currency had collapsed. Inhe formed the brokerage firm Fisk and Belden, and later he and his colleagues protected their control over the Erie Railroad Company by issuing fraudulent stock.

Along with his associates, Fisk attempted to corner the gold market by inflating the price, which was accomplished by bribing public officials to keep government gold off the market.

The venture brought them vast sums but led to a securities market panic that began on September 24,a day that was long remembered as Black Friday. At the time, the negative repercussions of the gold hoarding shook the economy and the scandal-plagued administration of Pres.

Leland Stanford Leland Stanford became involved in Republican politics in California and was elected governor in While governor, Stanford approved millions of dollars in state grants for the construction of a transcontinental railroad line during a period when he was also president of the Central Pacific Railroad.

In return, the association was provided 9 million acres 3. Stanford, Leland Leland Stanford, c. Courtesy of San Jose Public Library, California Room In addition, Stanford and his associates intimidated local governments into providing millions of dollars in subsidies by threatening to have the rail line bypass their communities.

InStanford was elected to the U. Senate by the legislature and re-elected in In also, he established what would later become Stanford University. Conspiring with refinery owners, he helped found what became known as the Standard Oil monopoly.

The consortium colluded with the railroads to monopolize oil delivery, prompting competitors to allow themselves to be bought by Standard Oil or be forced to pay outrageous shipping costs that would drive them out of business.Learn about six men who were considered by many to be robber barons due to the underhanded methods they used to amass wealth.

Robber Barons: US History for kids ***

6 Robber Barons From America's Past. Search the site GO. History & Culture. American History Basics Learn the History of the Term Robber Baron and Origins of the Name. Document Set C: Historical Interpretations Document C Historian A, “The industrialist robber barons of the late 19th century were predatory and materialistic; their bloated corporations were threats to the humane and democratic values that made America great.

Jul 05,  · On June 16, Burt Folsom, Professor of History at Hillsdale College, lectured at the Freedom University: History Summer Seminar. In this video Dr. Folsom discusses the "Myth of the Robber Barons". "Robber baron" is a derogatory metaphor of social criticism originally applied to certain late 19th-century American businessmen who were accused of using unscrupulous methods to get rich, "Chapter Robber Barons and Rebels" from A People's History of the United States Harper Perennial.

The robber barons transformed the wealth of the American frontier into vast financial empires, amassing their fortunes by monopolizing essential industries. In turn, these monopolies were built upon the liberal use of tactics that are today the hallmark of organized crime: intimidation, violence, corruption, conspiracies, and fraud.

State definitions of the terms "robber baron" and "captain of industry" List some of the actions, both positive and negative, of one or more captains of industry/robber barons Take a stand as to whether a particular financier/industrialist is or is not a robber baron and support that stand with evidence.

Robber baron (industrialist) - Wikipedia