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Robber Baron 101

gilded age


Post Civil War America was a period of reconstruction. Rapid economic growth and a population boom characterized an era that became known as the Gilded Age. Many entrepreneurs, chief among them John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Jo Pulitzer, capitalized on this economic boom. Their questionable business tactics and their single-minded quest for wealth and power, however, had people harping on them and calling them “robber barons.” These men were accused of shady business tactics, as well as using the middle class as a stepping stone and dominating the US political and business world with monopolies.

The term “robber baron” was popularized by Matthew Josephson during the Great Depression when he wrote a book decrying big business. Robber barons, he said, amassed fortune immorally, unethically and unjustly.

In our song about Robber Barons, Andrew Carnegie says:

The opposite of poverty,
Carnegie Steel,
yeah we have a whole monopoly.

Hear more from the robber barons themselves about their business “achievements” by listening to Flocabulary’s song about the Gilded Age.