Situational Importance of Capitalism in America Among Captains of Industry

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From 1875 to 1900 capitalists were praised by the richer class, being called “Captains of Industry,” but despised by the poorer class, being called “Robber Barons.” Capitalists post-civil war shaped a portion of our American industry that we know today. Throughout late 1800’s to early 1900’s, capitalism started to become more relevant. Capitalism at its root is used for extreme growth in a nation. Capitalism has shown that it does work at what is trying to achieve, industrial growth strived during this period due to it, but the morality is compromised to insure this great growth in economy. Moreover, some men in the richer class took advantage of the idea and only sought to build their own wealth rather than progression of the country. America called for industrial advancement and capitalism responded ten-fold, with thousands of new jobs and inventions, making these men the true Captains of Industry.

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It’s true, the gap between the rich and poor classes widened greatly during this time, however the argument that these men were a lot of just like the captains of a quickly growing industry is more correct. (document A) These same Northern capitalists were able to lead the South faraway from one-crop economy dependence, however a lot more important, they used their wealth to greater the prosperity of America through industry and education. (document B) If these men had not donated their wealth towards philanthropy and educational development, there would be no alternative base of industrial and educational development in inventions. If America’s trade couldn’t develop, it would have never risen to its industrial excellence that it became known for. At one point covering over thirty-four percent of the entire world’s population.

Successful capitalists of the late 1800s were called as robber barons by the lower class, due to the fact that they were responsible for the farmer’s grievances. (document D) The lower class’ argument was that these men grew trusts and industries to further their own wealth. (document E) True, however if these men failed to create a base for education and industry there would be no alternate ways of America to grow. The South method of making money had already been over-used and was a failure with its dependence on a one-crop economy, and called for a new age, which became industry. America required these men’s wealth and power to grow anyways. Capitalism eventually playing a role in America was inevitable.

The poor class argues that employment conditions were awful, and they were. This is where the morality behind capitalism begins to breakdown. The conditions were insanitary, overburdening, exhausting, ect. (document F and G) Whereas this argument holds true, it cannot be denied that if extra money had been spent on salaries and trendy renovations within the work place, the elites would have had no wealth to offer back for philanthropist actions. For example: If Carnegie, one of America’s the richest men in history, had not given his funds to the creation of his own Carnegie University, then the University’s important achievements to society have happened? If Rockefeller had not held his wealth from his employees, who then would have contributed to the University of Chicago’s educational funds? Simply put, if it weren’t for these ‘robber barons’ and their philanthropic donations, there would not be a structured platform for America to base its education off of. And with no base of education, the innovations that America’s greatest inventors created wouldn’t have found their way into American industry and education that we see today.

In conclusion America’s industrial advancement was inevitable and without it, America today would not exist. Without major capitalists like Rockefeller and Carnegie, educational advancements would not have happened and base for other school systems would not have been set. While the upper class put the lower class through environmental troubles and made everyday life a struggle (Document J). The overall success of America was worth this price, and for many lower class citizens’ daily jobs were an upgrade from their previous job. Capitalism also answered to the South’s need for economic change, being that their one-crop economy was a gambling failure. The Captains of Industry set ideal standards for future America, in our schools and our industries, allowing for major growth and making America a powerhouse in the world.

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