But what they all had in common was: the government let them operate pretty much how they wanted to.
So why did they do that?
Why did the government keep such a low profile and allow individuals to gain so much control of the industries?
Well, obviously, they had the wealth and the power to influence political leaders.
But also, the truth is that these industry leaders made a significant contribution.
Their investments in technologies led to the development of many new production techniques, which strengthened the economy.
And many of them gave lots of money to charity, Andrew Carnegie was particularly admired for his generosity.
But there was one thing in particular that gave them power, and that’s, they were beneficiaries,
probably the biggest beneficiaries of a theory, a dominant political theory in the 19th century, something called laissez-faire doctrine.
Laissez-faire roughly means let it alone, and that pretty much summarized the theory’s philosophy.