Throughout history, certain periods of time have been given certain names based on the happenings that occurred. Many have called the period of 1865 to 1901 the "Gilded Age", because it was "shiny and pretty" on the outside but it was "rough and ugly" underneath. The term "Gilded Age" was actually coined by Mark Twain who satire the Gilded Age with a Golden Age. Politically, economically and socially the Gilded Age was truly a "Gilded Age". Not everything added to the "Gilded" effect of the time period. The "robber barons," two major depressions and the labor unions (though not originally a bad thing) did add to the age. .
The Gilded Age saw the rise of Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan. These three "robber barons" as they were known as, were the three most powerful men of the time, but they didn't necessarily acquire their wealth and power peacefully and by good means. Andrew Carnegie acquired his wealth through steel. He founded the Carnegie Steel Company and created an empire of steel. Though his rise to power may not have been truly legitimate, when he retired he gave away 350,695,653 dollars to charity. John D. Rockefeller was another tycoon, but he invested in oil instead of steel. His goal was to make as much money as possible, which might seem conniving, but he then wanted to spend it to improve mankind and in order to achieve his goal, he invested in oil. Rockefeller was the first to invent the "trust". Trusts are basic-ally a relationship in which a person holds a legal title to certain property but is bound by a certain duty to exercise that legal control for the benefit a person or persons. J.P. Morgan was the third major tycoon of the Gilded Age, who was a very successful banker. J.P. Morgan merged Carnegie's Steel Company into the US Steel Corps. J.P. Morgan acquired more money than both Rockefeller and Carnegie combined, making him the richest man in the world at the time.