The Robber Barons

rob·ber bar·on
plural noun: robber barons
  1. a person who has become rich through ruthless and unscrupulous business practices (originally with reference to prominent US businessmen in the late 19th century).
  2. “both political parties served the interests of the corporate robber barons”

early 19th century: originally denoting a feudal lord who engaged in plundering.

The Robber Barons: The Classic Account of the Influential Capitalists Who Transformed America’s Future

Matthew Josephson


“The best, the liveliest and most illuminating” account of Rockefeller, Morgan, and the other men who seized American economic power after the Civil War (The New Republic).


The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America

Burt Folsom, Ron Robinson, Forrest McDonald

The Myth of the Robber Barons describes the role of key entrepreneurs in the economic growth of the United States from 1850 to 1910. The entrepreneurs studied are Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, James J. Hill, Andrew Mellon, Charles Schwab, and the Scranton family. Most historians argue that these men, and others like them, were Robber Barons. The story, however, is more complicated.

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