The Myth Of The Robber Barons Analysis

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"The Myth of The Robber Barons" by Burton W. Folsom, JR. is a very distinct story talking about the early American entrepreneurs. This story is a good illustration of big businessmen as being beyond America's significance. At the beginning of the story, Folsom portrays two significant types of entrepreneurs; market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs. He then begins to mention that "no entrepreneur fits perfectly into one category or the other, but most fall generally into one category" (pg. 1). Thereby, according to Folsom, “Political Entrepreneurs best fit into the classic robber barons mold” (pg. 1). This means that the way they assess business is more corrupt. This particular type of entrepreneur obtains Government aid and therefore, …show more content…
Folsom, though, does believe they helped the American industries to grow. Robert Fulton, Edward K. Collins and Samuel Cunard are some political entrepreneurs, that are talked about by Folsom. Each of these men worked in the steamboat industry while receiving federal aid to help in running their business. They all had high prices for passenger fare and mail postage as well. One market entrepreneur, Cornelius Vanderbilt, defeated all the others, Fulton, Collins and Cunard. Meanwhile, Folsom begins to explain how market entrepreneurs should not be labeled as robber barons. Folsom felt that the market entrepreneurs stayed behind the growth of America. They made sound products and didn’t take aid from the Government where political entrepreneurs did collect aid from the Government. market entrepreneurs were known for being risk-takers and also very humanitarian individuals, caring for others well-being. Many were known for their donation of money to the needy, building libraries, giving land to farmers in need of it and also letting individuals go on ships with free or reduced fare. A few of the most giving market entrepreneurs were Andrew Carnegie, James J. Hill, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius …show more content…
Rockefeller once wrote a letter to a partner stating, "we must remember we are refining oil for the poor man and he must have it cheap and good" (pg. 83). The stories which were told by Folsom about Rockefeller, had readers believing that he was a great person. Whereas, in many other textbooks Rockefeller is viewed very differently. Folsom looks at Robber Barons as a myth because he believes these particular entrepreneurs discussed, helped America to grow and become the world's superpower which it has become today. Folsom mentions that, "studying the rise of big business is important because it is the story of how the United States prospered and became a world superpower" (pg. 121). As for this reading, they show robber barons to be greedy. it’s also told that robber barons make huge fortunes and workers didn't get much of the money because the pay was so little. Folsom finds fault in textbooks for only telling the political entrepreneur side and leaving out the side of market entrepreneurs. Folsom also says how historians conception about entrepreneurs is misleading because many teach things such as "Entrepreneurs cut costs and made many contributions to American economic growth, but they also marred political life by bribing politicians and misusing government funds" (p.

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