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The Rise of Big Business and its Impact
on the Economy
The Gilded Age (1877-1901)
The period of time between the end of the Radical Reconstruction and the beginning of the Progressive
era
It was a brassy, flamboyant age, dominated by big business values, political corruption and extremes of
wealth…

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Control of the market for a single product by a single company
A process in which a company buys out or merges with all competing companies
Creates a monopoly corporation, which can fix prices
Method used by Robber Barons
Vertical Consolidation
One company controls every step of production
This meant…

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Business Trusts and Robber Barons
In the late 1890s, some large businesses, know as trusts, became so powerful that they threatened to
establish monopolies in particular industries
This meant they could fix prices without there being any competitions
Robber Baron- capitalist that regularly exploits the work force, providing poor working…

Page 4

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The Problems of Big Business
Problem of monopoly
Very few Americans questioned capitalism, but many began to question monopolies
People began to blame monopolies for;
o Creating artificially high prices
o The absence of competition
o Unstable economy depression of 1893
1% of all families in America controlled 8% of…

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o Harsh farming conditions
o Rising railroad rates and mortgages
o Declining grain and cotton prices
o Government deflation policies
Farmers lashed out at banks, merchants, railroads and the US monetary system (gold standard)
Worldwide agricultural economy caused great fluctuations in supply and demand
Farmers complains
o Lowered prices for…

Page 6

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External factors
Europe recovered from the depression before US
Increase in European demand for wheat
European wheat crops were reduced by 1/3 in 1897
European industries could not keep up with the product demand
US began to export goods to Europe
More work for US industries and workers
European money…

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