In history, what is ‘robber barons’?

  • This is a pejorative term used to describe American businessmen of the late 19th century who used unethical business practices to get rich.
  • It has been used over the years to justify more laws to limit the domination of the market by large corporations.
  • Industrialists like John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt are the most common targets of criticism against the robber barons.
  • Others, however, have argued that most American industrialists during the period engaged in free competition that helped consumers enjoy better products at lower prices.
  • They further argue that it was only businesses with political influence who misused their power.


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