“The men who built America” which includes the famed businessmen Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt were all classified as robber barons during their time. In order to make it to the top these three eliminate business competition, force their workers to labor in hard conditions, and they depleted America’s natural resource without contemplating the consequences. Robber barons are individuals who used their business for selfish greedy gain no matter the action. These three men were known for helping establish what is known as the American dream but the actions they took to live a life of prosperity were not always ethical.
Rockefeller is the prime example of an individual that destroyed his competition in order to become of America’s richest man. He wanted to monopolize the oil industry and did so with his company Standard Oil. In order to get rid of competition Rockefeller would lower his prices in area with other oil industries as well as find out ways to buy other oil industries or force them to stop production. Carnegie was no better his greed and want for money caused him to make actions that seem even more despicable than Rockefellers’. Andrew Carnegie would also buy out competing steel industries so that his steel company would succeed. He made sure that the actions he took would end with him becoming wealthier.
Some of those actions that Carnegie took were mistreatment of workers. He Knew His workers needed the money no matter how little they pay was because they had other duties such as providing for their families and he took a huge advantage out of that fact. He had his workers working in harsh very dangerous conditions and he found a way to destroy most of the labor unions leaving his workers helpless. He would hire young children and force them to work twelve hours a week with very little pay. After the Homestead Strike, when workers went on an aggressive strike after losing pay while working long hours and the state militia as well as soldiers aided in stopping the strike, the odds were against the workers after the signs showed that the government approved of big businesses such as Carnegies.
Another robber baron that didn’t let anything get in his way is Cornelius Vanderbilt. This man does have somewhat humble beginnings as he demonstrates how to climb the corporate ladder. He was at first an entrepreneur of a steamboat company and made somewhat of a monopoly of it as he destroyed local ferry companies. Later on he found himself in the railroad industry and this is when his greed really began to show. Vanderbilt bought out companies, had his workers work in poor dangerous conditions and worse of all he was destroying land that could contain natural resources. Vanderbilt built his railroads on what could have been great farmland and he used a lot of materials to do it. He accumulated much natural waste in his endeavors that he just threw away. Some of his actions add on to the reason why we live in such an unsustainable environment.
All of these men became the richest people to ever live in the United States but society ignores the fact that they may have done more harm than good thanks to the standard they set for businessmen to follow. Starting from the late 1800s these three paved a bad example of exploitation that we see many businessmen today strive for. No matter how society view these men one would be able to state they were leaders of a new era and another could state their selfish people stopping down whoever gets in their way. Ethically their negatives out way their positive selfish actions making them seem like bad guys to the public rather than great industrialist of the past.