Capitalism in the industrial era was a unique system which was based on the economic means of production. In this context, it was easier to create profitable production of goods and services. However, historians, economics and Politicians had and still have different perspectives on the same. The degree of control over markets, private property emphasis and property rights amongst many other attracted mixed reactions from different concerned parties. It is important to note that, inequality and wealth were pressing issues on peoples mind during this era. In this case, many concerned parties indulged in conversations about the same. William Graham Summer, Andrew Carnegie, and the Populist Party offered many different solutions and concerns in regards to capitalism during the industrial revolution. Andrew Carnegie propagated the “gospel of wealth” while William Graham and the Populist Party offered welfare in order to get support from the people and the party’s supporters. During this era many different people joined the Populist Party in order to get welfare solutions. Carnegie was more interested in equal wealth distributional and equal division of labor. On the other hand, the Populist Party and William  Graham greatly disproved this concept. The main goal of this paper is to compare and contrast the concerns and solutions offered by the three. 

Discussion

There were similarities and differences regarding the views of Graham, Carnegie and the Populist Party. However, similarities were few as compared to differences. Mostly, they had a great variety of views regarding capitalism during the industrial era. Carnegie was in support of equal distribution of wealth and equal division of labor. Graham on his part used Darwin’s ideas of evolution to devise his theory of economic survival for the fittest, while the Populist Party embraced the notion that majority rules. To support their ideologies, they came up with theories and ideas to address the inequality and wealthy issues which were the order of the day during the industrial era. The following paragraphs thoroughly reflect their similarities and differences.

Andrew Carnegie argued that individual capitalist was supposed to improve the world by sharing equally with others what he/she had acquired through his/her effort. According to him, there was no way one could gain wealth without the help of the community and thus, someone should share with the community his/her wealth. He claimed that individualism should be allowed to continue, but the wealthy people should be a trustee of the poor; entrusted with the community wealth, but administering it in a better way than the community could have done it. This ideology was vehemently objected by Graham who argued that evolution should be allowed to take its course and people should be allowed to acquire wealth as much as their capabilities allow them without being forced to share it with others. Graham believed that some people were wealthier than others because they were able to apply their talents and abilities well, but not because the community has helped them through labor and other means. According to Graham, no one should be limited to what he/she should acquire in terms of wealth. On other hand, Populist Party was in favor of Carnegie ideology as they believed in the spirit of brotherhood though they did not favor individualism. However, the brotherhood in the two subjects had different meaning. In Carnegie ideology, brotherhood meant you equally share your wealth with the community, while in Populist, it meant the government should treat all as equal and should use the power vested on to it to put an end to the oppression, injustice, and poverty.   

Graham believed that the elite wealthy, whose most people did not understand their ambitions and intentions, benefited everyone by the fact that they were creating jobs for all. On contrary, Carnegie was of the idea that the people who got talent to accumulate wealth should apply the same talent in sharing their fortunes. Graham could not see sense in Carnegie argument since he believed the elite wealthy were already contributing positively to all since they offered them jobs. Populist on their part believed that they could collectively apply their talents and abilities to serve their own interests. That is, the Populist Movement was of the idea that they should combine their abilities to apply the new technological and organization methods to help them acquire wealth collectively.  

The Populist Party and Graham differed in how the government should have intervened to solve wealth and inequality issues which were brought by the economic depression and the rapid industrial revolution. Graham argued that government was not supposed to intervene because it would have disturbed the “natural” and self-regulating market. This argument was in favor of his theory of economic survival for the fittest. On contrary, the Populist Party argued that the free government should intervene to ensure that poverty, injustice, and oppression were a thing of the past in their land. The Populist Party also adjudicated that the free government should treat everyone equally irrespective of his/her wealth status. Populist Movement was in line with DuBois ideas, and they were also fighting for the rights to vote and civic equality.

Both Graham and Populist Party were in favor of the “social Darwinist” scientific ideas of evolution. Graham used these ideas to develop his own theory of the economic survival of the fittest in which only the strongest would survive. He believed that the evolution of intellectual power helped those who had acquired education to have control/power over those of inferior opportunities. To balance the intellectual power, he suggested that the American free school system should have helped those of inferior opportunities to acquire education power that will prepare them to maintain their independence in all issues that may have arisen between social classes. The Populist Party was also evolutionistic because the post-Darwinian ideas of development were mostly referred by the Populist Movement in their debate. The evolutionary imagination was also exposed to the members of the Populist Party by the populist newspaper. Anyone who read the Populist newspaper had enough knowledge of the evolutionary imagination.

The Populist Party and William Graham were against corrupt government. The issues which the Populist Party was sturdily against included corrupted government, inequitable banking, and abusive railroad pricing. They believed the power of the free government should favor everyone and not just a few corrupted capitalist individuals who were misusing the power of government to enrich themselves. In his part, Graham was against greed and selfishness of individuals in the government who used fraud and other dubious ways to acquire wealth. He suggested that the criminal law of the land was supposed to be improved or adjusted in order to meet the new forms of crimes in the government.

Andrew Carnegie was unique in most of his views and he seemed not share similar ideas with others. His ideas were unique in a way, but they all focused on the unequal distribution of wealth. He concluded that the main cause of unequal distribution of wealth was the socialistic activity which was actively presented during those days.

Conclusion

William Graham Summer, Andrew Carnegie, and the Populist Party offered many different solutions and concerns in regards to capitalism during the industrial revolution. Andrew Carnegie propagated the “gospel of wealth” while William Graham and the Populist Party offered welfare in order to get support from the people and the party’s supporters. During that era many different people joined the Populist Party in order to get welfare solutions. Carnegie was more interested in equal wealth distributional and equal division of labor. On the other hand, the Populist Party and William Graham greatly opposed this concept.

There were similarities and differences regarding the views of Graham, Carnegie and the Populist Party. However, similarities were few as compared to differences. Mostly, they had varied views regarding capitalism during the industrial era. Carnegie was in support of equal distribution of wealth and equal division of labor. Graham on his part used Darwin’s ideas of evolution to devise his theory of economic survival for the fittest, while the Populist Party embraced the notion that majority rules. The discussion above completely reveals and proves the fact that the Populist Party and Graham had many similarities, but Carnegie was unique in his ideas and did not have similar views with his contemporaries.

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