Benevolent Barons

American Worker-Centered Industrialists, 1850–1910


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About the Book

American business has always had deep roots in community. For over a century, the country looked to philanthropic industrialists to finance hospitals, parks, libraries, civic programs, community welfare and disaster aid. Worker-centered capitalists saw the workplace as an extension of the community and poured millions into schools, job training and adult education. Often criticized as welfare capitalism, this system was unique in the world.
Lesser known capitalists like Peter Cooper and George Westinghouse led the movement in the mid– to late 1800s. Westinghouse, in particular, focused on good wages and benefits. Robber barons like George Pullman and Andrew Carnegie would later succeed in corrupting the higher benefits of worker-centered capitalism. This is the story of those accomplished Americans who sought to balance the accumulation of wealth with communal responsibility.

About the Author(s)

Quentin R. Skrabec, Jr., an international expert in management, manufacturing and globalization, is the author of numerous books on American industrial history, capitalism and notable business leaders. He lives in Maumee, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Quentin R. Skrabec, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9494-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2029-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Introduction 5

One. The Puritan Experiment 11

Two. Genesis of an Industrial Race 21

Three. European Industrialization, Master Entrepreneurs, and Worker Utopias 37

Four. Lowell and Rockdale 51

Five. Crisis in American Labor: Class, Skilled, and Unskilled Laborers 60

Six. Early Paternal and ­Employee-Driven Capitalists 70

Seven. Robber Barons and the Questioning of Capitalism 80

Eight. New Breed of Paternal Capitalists 89

Nine. American Patriarchal or Philanthropic Capitalism 101

Ten. The Failure of Pullman City 115

Eleven. The Greatest Paternalist of Them All 125

Twelve. Westinghouse’s Paternalism 131

Thirteen. Trusts and Corruption 143

Fourteen. Wilmerding, America’s New Lanark 155

Fifteen. Capitalism with a Heart—Westinghouse’s Vision 174

Sixteen. A Government Policy for Philanthropy and Paternalism 181

Seventeen. Corporate Paternalism 189

Eighteen. Unions, Industrial Democracy and the New Deal 200

Nineteen. Visions Come True 211

Twenty. And the Wolf Finally Came—Deindustrialization and Globalization 214

Chapter Notes 219

Bibliography 223

Index 227