35 Robber Barons Or Captains Of Industry Worksheet

Captains Of Industry Or Robber Barons Worksheet Answers —
Captains Of Industry Or Robber Barons Worksheet Answers — from db-excel.com

Robber Barons or Captains of Industry Worksheet


As students delve into the study of American history, one topic that often sparks debate and discussion is the role of the industrialists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Were these men robber barons, exploiting workers and monopolizing industries for personal gain? Or were they captains of industry, responsible for the rapid growth and development of the United States? To help students explore this question and form their own opinions, a robber barons or captains of industry worksheet can be a valuable tool.

Understanding the Terminology

Before diving into the worksheet, it's important for students to have a clear understanding of the terminology used. Define key terms such as "robber barons" and "captains of industry." Discuss the negative connotations associated with robber barons, who were often accused of unethical business practices and exploiting workers. On the other hand, captains of industry were seen as visionary leaders who contributed to economic growth and development.

Examining the Evidence

The next section of the worksheet should provide students with a range of primary and secondary sources that present different perspectives on the industrialists of the time. Include excerpts from speeches, newspaper articles, and historical accounts that highlight both the positive and negative aspects of their actions. Encourage students to critically analyze the evidence and consider the biases and motivations of the authors.

Identifying Robber Baron Characteristics

Ask students to list the characteristics commonly associated with robber barons. These may include monopolistic practices, exploitation of workers, political corruption, and disregard for social welfare. Provide examples from history to support their responses and encourage them to think critically about how these actions impacted society.

Recognizing Captain of Industry Traits

In contrast, students should also identify the traits attributed to captains of industry. These may include innovation, philanthropy, job creation, and technological advancements. Again, provide examples from history to support their responses and prompt students to consider the positive contributions made by these industrialists.

Comparing and Contrasting

Now that students have identified the characteristics associated with both robber barons and captains of industry, they can create a Venn diagram or a T-chart to compare and contrast the two. Encourage them to consider the overlaps and divergences between the two categories and to consider whether it's possible for an individual to exhibit traits of both.

Forming Opinions

After analyzing the evidence and considering the different perspectives, students should be encouraged to form their own opinions. Provide them with prompts or discussion questions to guide their thinking. For example, "Do the positive contributions of these industrialists outweigh the negative aspects?" or "Were their actions justified in the context of the time period?" Encourage respectful and evidence-based discussions.

Presenting Arguments

Once students have formed their opinions, they can use the worksheet to develop persuasive arguments to support their stance. Encourage them to use evidence from the sources provided and to consider counterarguments. This will help them strengthen their critical thinking and communication skills.

Debating the Issue

To further engage students, consider organizing a classroom debate or mock trial where they can present their arguments and engage in respectful discourse. Assign roles such as industrialists, workers, and social reformers to encourage students to consider different perspectives and understand the complexities of the issue.

Reflection and Discussion

At the end of the worksheet, provide space for students to reflect on the activity and engage in a class discussion. Ask questions such as, "Did your opinion change throughout the activity?" or "What factors influenced your perspective?" This will encourage students to think critically about the topic and reflect on their own biases.

Extension Activities

For students who want to explore the topic further, suggest extension activities such as conducting independent research on a specific industrialist or writing a reflective essay on the impact of their actions. This will allow students to deepen their understanding and develop their research and writing skills.


The robber barons or captains of industry worksheet is a valuable tool for students to explore and analyze the role of industrialists in American history. By examining primary and secondary sources, identifying key characteristics, and forming their own opinions, students can develop critical thinking and communication skills while gaining a deeper understanding of this complex topic.