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Business Leaders of the Gilded Age: Good, Bad, and Ugly

Mark Twain wrote of the Gilded Age, a time of enormous wealth accumulated by a few. Their success spread a gleaming gold leaf over American society. Beneath that veneer, however, lay the pervasive misery of the working classes. Clearly the dominant figures of postwar American capitalism were John D. Rockefeller, ^Andrew Carnegie^ and J. Pierpont Morgan. A second tier of wealthy and unscrupulous businessmen were well-known in their day, but are less so today. These include Daniel Drew, James Fisk and Jay Gould. With notable exceptions such as Carnegie, the wealthy elite cared little for the masses. They were on a mission to build a new society and no price was too high to pay for progress.