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Robber Barons Redux: Antimonopoly Reconsidered

Richard R. John

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The antimonopoly critique of big business that flourished in the United States during the 1880s is a neglected chapter in the history of American reform. In this essay, a revised version of Richard R. John's 2011 Business History Conference presidential address, John shows how this critique found expression in a gallery of influential cartoons that ran in the New York City–based satirical magazines Puck and Judge. Among the topics that the cartoonists featured was the manipulation of the nation's financial markets by financier Jay Gould.