Skip to main content


Ideas that were advocated during the Gilded Age possess the potential to do a lot of good in the future for the disgruntled individuals that are fueling the grass roots components of the Occupy and Tea Party movements. There is not substantial research on applying nineteenth century political theory works to twenty first century society. Research tends to focus on the wealth of the business elites, particularly entrepreneurs and financiers such as J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, citing their financial success as solid evidence that everyone in the United States has the opportunity to succeed in competitive capitalism and rise to the top of the socio-economic class structure if they have sufficient talent and effort, in spite of the sub-human working conditions of wage laborers of the late nineteenth century. Thrift, hard work, virtue, talent, and effort have been advocated as the sole reasons for how the rich became rich and the poor stay poor, according to the laissez-faire, dominant individualist, and Social Darwinist ideas found in William Graham Sumner’s classical liberal work, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other, alternative ideas to pure laissez-faire capitalism would be made in the arguments of Edward Bellamy’s work, Looking Backward, which had arguments in support of collective ownership and management as well as in Andrew Carnegie’s work, Wealth, which had arguments in support of limited economic redistribution. Carnegie’s ideas of limited economic redistribution could be effectively implemented in the twenty first century United States in local communities by modern elites to improve the standard of living and quality of life of less fortunate individuals that are fueling modern political movements. Faculty Adviser: Maria Albo


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Event location
    • Library Technology Center David L. Potter Special Collections Room 382

  • Event date
    • 28 March 2012

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Maria Albo