Industrialization and Captains of Industry Questions and Answers

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Does Rockefeller deserve to be called a "robber baron"? Why or why not?

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Rockefeller deserves the "robber baron" name. By using business tactics that were legal at the time, Rockefeller created the monopoly Standard Oil. Rockefeller operated at a loss in order to drive out his competition and bought them out later. He could then charge whatever he wanted. Rockefeller also expanded into the transportation industry by making sure that trains would only carry his oil. This also put pressure on small producers. Rockefeller operated by treating his workers as replaceable parts—the oil industry was even more dangerous back then than it is currently.

Even though Rockefeller donated to philanthropic causes and was a key player in turning the United States into a major oil producer, the business practices he used are illegal today. The US government stepped in and broke up Standard Oil into smaller companies. There are more safeguards in the industry than there were during Rockefeller's time. It is now nearly impossible to control all the means of production...

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