AP United States History
7 January 2014
Zinn Chapter 11
Manifest Destiny gave reason to go to the West for opportunists. The more common name for these opportunistic Americans were industrialists. These people came on the rise as Robber Barons. What would become household names were simply paving their ways towards success in these days. This brand of people became a part of American culture, forever changing it and embellishing their names within it, such as Rockefeller, Standford, Gould, Morgan, and Carnegie. These people carved out industrialization in the name of America through their immense fortunes in banking, coal, and oil. This would be the era of the establishment of the multinational corporation. The gap between the elite and the lower class grew wider than ever which would lead to class conflicts. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Bad conditions also contributed to a declining working class. In 1889, over 22,000 railroad workers died while on duty because of these working conditions. Because of the bad name that death and turmoil gave them, the Robber Barons often felt the need to redeem themselves through charity and public work; some of which even invested into establishing a university or college of their own like Cornell, Duke, John’s Hopkins, and Stanford. This created the middle class, which gave a sort of buffer between the elite and the lower class. As time dragged on, the economy became increasingly dependent on these large capitalist companies, which upset the lower class seeing as it put an immense amount of effort upon them. Monopolies formed among industries, which caused concerns to grow over the influence of these companies. In the face of these realities, the Populist movement emerged and fought many battles for workers.
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