Was J.P. Morgan a Captain of Industry or Robber Baron?

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Was J.P. Morgan a Captain of Industry or Robber Baron?

This essay will explore the complex legacy of J.P. Morgan, a pivotal figure in American industrial history. It will delve into whether Morgan should be celebrated as a Captain of Industry, for his role in modernizing American business, or criticized as a Robber Baron for his aggressive business tactics and monopolistic practices. The discussion will include an analysis of his influence on the banking sector, contributions to the American economy, and the ethical implications of his business strategies. Also at PapersOwl you can find more free essay examples related to Corporate Social Responsibility.

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J.P. Morgan set up the first billion-dollar corporation, which was U.S.Steel. Morgan was able to save the United States in a time of need while also making millions himself. On the other side, he treated his workers very poorly, making them work long hours and thinking of them as inferior to himself.


Captain of Industry: Contributions to Industrialization

Some people view J.P. Morgan as a captain of industry, while others view him as a robber baron.

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J.P. Morgan was a captain of industry. He helped to stabilize the U.S. in a time of debt, and he created the first billion-dollar corporation while also making millions for himself. Morgan used his money to donate to charities and to buy artwork, which was later donated to a museum for others to view.

J.P. Morgan was a captain of industry because he was able to help the United States in multiple times of crises while also making money for himself and also running the first billion-dollar corporation. J.P. Morgan saw potential in investing. He knew that you need to take large risks to one day see an even larger reward, which is exactly what he did in many ways. He bought Andrew Carnegie’s steel company for $480 million. With this, he was able to create the first billion-dollar corporation, which was U.S. Steel. Within the first year, U.S. Steel produced almost all of the country’s steel and controlled everything involving steel. While running a billion-dollar company Morgan was also able to help the country in a time of crisis and also donate money to charity. Morgan had his hands full running U.S. Steel but also made time to give back to the United States. In a time of crisis and debt, he was able to loan the country money. He would also donate to places like charities and schools. Hospitals, churches, etcetera. Another thing he did with his money was purchase artwork which was all later donated to a museum when he passed away in 1913.

Robber Baron: Questionable Treatment of Workers

J.P. Morgan was a robber baron because of the terrible conditions his employees had to work in. J.P. Morgan fought for workers’ rights but continued to treat his workers poorly. Morgan did not pay his workers enough for the job they did. He also made them work very long hours, which they were not paid a substantial amount for doing. Morgan would fight for workers’ rights while continuing to treat his own workers poorly. Morgan was the cause of falling wages and little care for workers’ health and safety. According to The History Channel website, as profits soar, working conditions sink. This is exactly what Morgan would do; as soon as he saw profit, the working conditions would worsen in order to come out ahead. The term “organization” was named after J.P. Morgan and his business practices in which he would cut the number of employees and lower their pay. Morgan did these things so that he would remain at the top of the competition.


Although Morgan did not always treat his workers fairly, he still fought for workers’ rights. At the time, Morgan saw the only thing that mattered was keeping his spot at the head of the competition of large corporations. J.P. Morgan was able to help the U.S. in multiple times of crisis. While doing this, he was still running the first billion-dollar industry, trying to make a profit for himself, buying artwork, and donating to multiple charities. J.P. Morgan was more a captain of industry than a robber baron. Morgan was the first person to run a billion-dollar corporation. He was able to help the U.S. on multiple occasions by loaning money. He was also a key player in donating large amounts of money to charities and other places in need of donations.


  1. Strouse, J. (1999). Morgan: American Financier. Harper Perennial.

  2. Morris, C. R. (2005). The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J.P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy. Holt Paperbacks.

  3. Fraser, S. (1999). The Money Game in Old New York: Daniel Drew and His Times. Transaction Publishers.


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Was J.P. Morgan a Captain of Industry or Robber Baron?. (2023, Aug 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/was-j-p-morgan-a-captain-of-industry-or-robber-baron/