robber baron

(redirected from the robber baron)

robber baron

1. A disparaging term applied to any of the prominent businessmen in the late 19th-century US who used unethical means to increase industrialization (and thus their own wealth and prestige). John Rockefeller is usually regarded as a robber baron, but he's certainly not the only one.
2. By extension, anyone who achieves great wealth and success by unscrupulous means. Of course I don't trust him—he's a robber baron who's made all his money by manipulating the stock market!
3. In the Middle Ages, a thief who robbed unsuspecting travelers. Please be mindful of robber barons on your journey through the countryside.
See also: robber
References in periodicals archive ?
The enemy of the 99 percent, he contends, is more the intellectual than the robber baron.
White is at pains to stress that he is not resurrecting the Robber Baron literature, suggesting that, in general, those who ran the transcontinentals were generally more ignorant and inept than brilliant and scheming.
Grant for preserving the Union (he eventually published the statesman's best-selling memoirs); wrote in favor of rights for African Americans but was fond of telling racist jokes (and co-authored with Bret Harte the grotesquely anti-Chinese play Ah Sin); assailed the Gilded Age yet formed a close personal and professional relationship with the robber baron Henry Rogers; lampooned con men and scam artists yet went broke by investing in crackpot inventions and get-rich-quick schemes; and SO on.
Following the publication in 2000 of Morgan: American Financier, by Jean Strouse, the robber baron is being viewed as a good guy, and Strouse has become a popular booster of his on television talk shows.
Not since the robber baron era of primitive capitalism has so much economic power been concentrated in so few hands.
It was Jay Gould, the robber baron, and the young inventor suffered considerable loss in a dispute between Western Union and Gould's Atlantic & Pacific system over Edison's quadruplex telegraph.
Though the book starts slowly, with an excessively detailed look at the financial machinations of the Robber Baron Age, it becomes increasingly illuminating after Morris jumps to the modern age of finance and begins tackling such topics as Michael Milken, the S&L crisis, the leveraged buy-out craze of the 1980s, and last year's Asian currency crisis.
Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, says that this has thrown the state of campaign finance law backward not just a generation to the Watergate Era but a century to the Robber Baron Era.
The entrepreneur has become linked in the liberal mind with the robber baron who delights in destroying his competition.
JUSTICE is beginning to catch up with the robber barons of the electricity bills.
Back in the Middle Ages the robber barons fenced off common land where the peasants had grazed their livestock for centuries and charged them to use it.
It seems the robber barons of history continue to exist, not with armour and swords but with smart suits and Porsches on their drives.
The Robber Barons are still with us and supported by this lousy Parliament who no doubt has shares in British Gas or is it, French Gas?
As for his comment about Scottish Power, it is a bit ironic that he can quote a very profitable power company, a rapacious capitalist organisation that could give lessons to the Robber Barons of 19th century Industrial America.