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Wealth Against the Commonwealth Essay

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The Gilded Age


       Liberty refers to the freedom that is guaranteed for all citizens and businesses to carry on their activities without any prohibition as long as they are within the law. Monopoly on the other hand is defined as an enterprise which is the sole seller of certain goods or services within a certain market without any form of competition (Henry, 1894).

       From the statement by Henry Demarest Lloyd, that, “Liberty and monopoly cannot live together.” Based on knowledge on the industrial revolution as well as the gilded age, I tend to agree with this view that monopoly and liberty cannot exist at the same time.

Liberty means anyone can engage in any type of business whereas monopoly denies other people the chance or freedom to engage in certain businesses(Henry, 1894). Industrial revolution brought more opportunities and opened up markets for all people to participate in business. The gilded age also brought rapid economic development hence preventing the existence of monopoly.

However, due to corruption and disagreements, monopolies continued to exits hence eliminating liberty in businesses.

       Social Darwinismrefers to theories which emerged in 1870s. This view supports the biological concepts whereby natural selection takes place and those that are the fittest are able to survive, politically and socially. Liberty or monopoly does not require any form of biological application (Robert, 2000). Liberty provides freedom to everyone while monopoly is for certain selected businesses hence social Darwinism cannot be applicable. However, considering that not all people or businesses are strong enough to survive competition, I think Social Darwinism may also stand up against the view by Lloyd.


Henry Demarest Lloyd (1894). Wealth Against the Commonwealth. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1898 (originally published 1894). 1-2. Viewed from http://www.etsu.edu/cas/tahg/pictures/ModernAmerica/Wealth%20Against%20the%20Commonwealth.pdfon 22nd November 2014

Robert C. Bannister (2000),Social Darwinism, viewed from HYPERLINK “http://autocww.colorado.edu/~toldy2/E64ContentFiles/SociologyAndReform/SocialDarwinism.html” http://autocww.colorado.edu/~toldy2/E64ContentFiles/SociologyAndReform/SocialDarwinism.html on 22nd November 2014

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