Ragtime Historical Context

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The early part of the twentieth century, as Ragtime explains, saw a shift in public sentiment away from the values of the wealthy, the established fraternity of men who had run business and government with increasing disregard since the end of the Civil War. At the end of the nineteenth century, the wealth of the country was absorbed by a small number of financiers who owned interests in key industries and bought out or forced out competitors in order to establish monopolies. Among the most prominent of these men were John D. Rockefeller, who built a petroleum empire; Andrew Carnegie, who dominated the market in steel; Andrew Mellon, who controlled banking; and the most powerful of them all, John Pierpont Morgan, who appears as a character in the book. In 1882, Rockefeller established the first trust, and many other industries followed soon after. A "trust" is a legal...

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This section contains 1,048 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ragtime Study Guide
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Ragtime from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.