Sunday, November 15, 2009

Robber Barons
By Kristian Fausz

Wealthy people of the world have always carried a target on their backs. Businessmen of the 19th century were often portrayed as devious monsters for their success. Robber barons, they have been called, because of their comparison to feudal barons, and the belief that their wealth was achieved using dirty tactics. However, the title robber baron may not be as fitting as it seems.

One reason they gained this title are the arguments of their unfair advantage in industry. Competition gossiped to the press their ideas that though they believed these men "bought...almost as cheaply...[and] made as good [a product]" as themselves, they "must be getting better rates from the railroads", according to Tarbell. They may have received better rates, but there was no evil behind them. It is not uncommon for a company and a transportation system that interact regularly to make price deals to better their own business. Rockefeller divulged another reason for lower rates when he revealed that railroads were "exempted...from liability for fire" because they had their own insurance.

An alternate reasoning for their wealth was that they acquired more money than they had earned because of their high status and power in industry. According to Gustavus Myers, "[James J.] Hill and his associates secured more franchises and special laws, built extensions, and formed the Great Northern Railroad...The Legislatures of the Northwest were deluged with bribe money," but he continued with "although it was never specifically proved that Hill was the distributor", deteriorating the credibility of his statement. Contrary to Myers' allegation, Joseph G. Pyle conveyed that "In a time when railroad presidents received [immense salaries]...he refused to take a dollar...No honest inquirer has ever been able to find a 'tainted dollar' in the fortune of James J. Hill". The fact that Myers' integrity was shattered by his poor support, and Pyle says that not a single "honest inquirer" was able to find corruption causes a leaning in Pyle's favor.

Another claim is that their tactics were ruthless and cruel. Matthew Johnson said that they "were aggressive...lawless...[and] in crisis...tended to act without...[the] moral principles...of the common people of the community...." George Rice, a competitor with Rockefeller, said that "Standard Oil drove him out of business". Contrarily, he also said that "[their] prices generally were so high that [he] could sell [his] goods 2 to 3 cents a gallon bellow their prices and make a nice profit, but these savage attacks...plainly showed their power for evil, and the uselessness to contend against such odds". It was possible to make a profit, yet he just gave up, which was his own fault. Like Sumner believed, " dependent on the skill of the captain of industry for the certainty and magnitude of its profits" and "their wealth would not be but for themselves". It takes hard work and determination to be successful, and the "robber barons" were because when those such as Rice were willing to roll over, they kept on pushing.

The robber barons of the 19th century caused great economical and industrial growth. Making intelligent decisions and having extraordinary business skills gained them rumors. Because they held power, they were also feared. Those who couldn't handle the heat of competition dubbed them barbarous cutthroats and whined about their lost opportunity, using the successful as scapegoats for their failure. These men weren't devils from Hell. They were business men, who looked out for their companies, and brought enhancement to the world around them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heroes of America

Heroes of America

By Kristian Fausz

America, the land of the free, is historically a bright light upon the earth. Long ago, groups of people came to this land to escape oppression, to fulfill their dreams, and discover a better life for themselves and their decedents. It’s a land known for its greatness, be it the people or the deeds. Men and women throughout history stood up and did what they believed was right in order to keep the country a shining beacon of hope, freedom, and justice in the world that people can depend on.

Once, long ago, there was a time when a man could turn to another man and call him his friend. All were brothers and sisters under the American Flag. Trustworthy citizens were abundant, and no one need fear taking a walk in the park nor hide a gun under their floor boards incase an intruder attempts to cause them harm. However, the world has transformed majorly since that time, and is now the distorted, corrupt place seen today. Thugs run the streets, murders grow nationwide, and drugs are in the reach of younger and younger populace. Unless an action will result in an award, or some other benefit a person, most avoid doing anything they aren’t forced to do. Cries for help are often ignored because of spreading fear of involvement. Citizens who care are now scarce. Heroes have become a rarity in America-but they are not yet extinct.

Heroes don’t need to be faster than a speeding bullet, or wear a cape and have a secret identity. They don’t need to have secret lairs, or sidekicks-though the majority doesn’t seem to know this. Normal, everyday people can be heroes if they choose to be. Unfortunately, those who know that they can be simply don’t choose to be. Humans have grown to be greedy and self-centered creatures, apathetic about the world around them. Yet, there are exceptions to this contempt for helping the fellow man.

Of the billions of U.S. citizens, a handful still opts to be heroes, a number of them without realizing it. Firemen and police officers risk their lives everyday, expecting nothing in return. Teachers pass on their knowledge to educate the children, our future. Even some parents, who raise their children with morals, make them aware of responsibility, and correct them when they are wrong, are heroes. They support them as children grow, and set them along the right path of life early. Each of these types of people deal with stress, struggles, and problems in their lives, but continue being devotees to the population.

America was once known for its champions, for free will, and righteousness. The heroes spoken of in old war stories and legends may no longer be around, and those who follow in their shadows sparse, but they have not vanished from the face of the planet completely. The mighty hero gene has not been lost. They are not immortal, but they are super nonetheless. The ones who continue being heroes, even when it doesn’t seem worth it, are the ones who deserve parades and statues in their honor.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Might As Well Have ONE

Figured I post something to this thing wouldn't be empty.
I'm Kristian.
I'm in the 11th grade.
I'm 16-will be 17 in November.
I have the best friends ever.
I like to draw, write, read, listen to music, going to the movies, yada yada blah blah.
That's all for now. :D