Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ralph E. Weber


The age of the entrepreneur in American history was an age in which excess, brutality, and exploitation characterized and captured the imaginations and actions of the businessmen, and diffused its evil ramifications throughout the land in a philosophic and pragmatic form known as Social Darwinism. An appropriate study of the Gilded Age and the business community that dominated it yields and interesting relationship between the businessman's methods and the businessman's philosophy. In both cases, the impact of Social Darwinism was profound, all comprehensive, and confidently presumptuous in the pursuit of business, the good things in life and progress. The Robber Barons were Social Darwinists, and as professors of the faith exercised an individualism in keeping with the times.