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Robber Baron Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Julia YimMr. LovedayUS History30 September 2014Review Questions Robber Barons ActivityDocument AIdentify the large figure in the cartoon. Who is he and what is his significance to this time period?John D. Rockefeller, shown in the cartoon, was the famous oil magnate who created a powerful monopoly on the US oil industry in less than 20 years. By 1899, the Standard Oil Trust had already been formed, which allowed Rockefeller to control his monopoly completely with this, so to speak, "corporation of corporations": the heads of each oil refinery corporation within the country, including Rockefeller himself, formed the Board of Trustees, which set equal prices, as well as production levels, for each "branch" of the board.What criticism is this cartoonist making of this individual and of the overall situation? (Pay attention to the title of the cartoon in answering this question)Rockefeller is examining the White House and Treasury in his hand; in the background, the State Capitol building is portrayed as a giant oil refinery. The cartoon's main motif is that big business (specifically big oil) had become extremely prevalent in late 19th century America, and it had grown so large that the government was unable to control it. Rockefeller is portrayed as a man that has become so powerful that he has dwarfed the power of the federal government. Rockefellers' oil is seen as extremely pervasive in the illustration. The dark color choices in the cartoon give the situation an air of darkness and negativity; the smoke coming from the smokestacks almost looks like smoke from a fire, which could be a representation that big business was destroying America.Document BWho or what does the octopus in the center of the image represents?The rise of Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust accurately represents the differing viewpoints of the wealthy "captains of industry" and those of average working class Americans during the Second Industrial Revolution. This new class of wealthy industrialists truly believed in the all-American image of opportunity for the common man and social Darwinism, that is, survival of the fittest.What is the octopus grabbing with its tentacles?The tentacles represent the way that the trust controlled every aspect of every branch of the Standard Oil Company, across the entire nation.What message is this cartoonist attempting to communicate? (Again, pay attention to the title of the cartoon in answering this question)Cartoons such as these led to the widespread distrust of industrialist methods, as the tentacles surrounding the governmental buildings indicate Rockefeller's use of bribery to influence Congressmen and other officials to prevent the passing of anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws. Rockefeller became painfully clear and they became an enemy of the public, constantly portrayed in a negative light, causing Americans to have mistrust in corporate systems as a whole....

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