The Industrial Revolution forever changed the way people lived. People could travel faster, communicate faster, and work faster. Some people managed to take advantage of these new opportunities and got very profitable business from it. These people got so rich, that people got jealous of them and called them, “Robber Baron’s.”
Being a Robber Baron meant that they were so greedy for power and wealth, that they dealt unethically with other people to improve their own position. Now it is true that they might have dealt unfairly with others to get more profit, but for the most part, I think most of the so-called, “Robber Barons” are not that greedy. Now there were three main people who were called Robber Baron’s, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and John Pierpont Morgan.
John D. Rockefeller was born in 1839 and was very successful in the oil business. He started by investing in an oil refinery in 1863, then bought out all but one of the other partners in the refinery so that he was now in control of his first refinery. In 1870, he saw that it was very successful, and he founded Standard Oil in Ohio. In less than 10 yrs, it controlled more than 90% of all oil industries in America. TO cut costs, he built pipelines from Cleveland and Pittsburgh to the big cities in the East. He was so successful, he became a major public target. In the Sherman Antitrust Act, public opinion brought lawsuits against monopolistic businesses. As a result of this, Standard Oil was sued by the US government in 1909, and Rockefeller was forced to break the company in 1911.
But John did not put all his eggs in one basket, therefore the personal wealth jumped to $900 million which was around $400 billion dollars today. He lived to be 98 and spent the last 40 yrs of his life giving away his money to charitable causes. He supported many libraries and supported education, public schools, and many public health organizations.
Andrew Carnegie was born in 1835, Scotland in a one-room weaver’s cottage. He founded his first job at 13 and later got a better one in 1850. Then he caught the attention from a railroad businessman named Scott, who became his mentor and taught him all about investing and businesses. Then, Scott got him to invest in the Keystone bridge company, which got him into making steel. He realized that steel would not only be used for bridges but would also be helpful to use in many other things. He later put aside the bridge company and started to focus on just steel. He hired a man named Frick. Frick was very ruthless and earned Carnegie Steel, and Andrew Himself, a bad reputation that took many years to overcome. He monopolized most of the steel industry, which was the new most popular building material.
In 1901, JP Morgan offered to buy Carnegie Steel, and because Andrew Carnegie wanted to beat Rockefeller as the richest man in the world, he sold the company for $480 million, and he pocketed around $225 million from that. He was not showy at all, and instead spent his last 20 years of life giving away over $350 million to fund many projects.