Join a Student Group

If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved.

Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join.

Below is a list of some of the larger non-profit groups out there fighting for freedom on campuses across the country. These groups help students in a variety of ways, such as through training, by bringing in speakers, offering activism tools, scholarships, and more.

Click for more details:

Collegiate Network
Institute for Humane Studies
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Leadership Institute
Network of enlightened Women (NeW)
Students for Liberty (SFL)

Bureaucrash - "Bureaucrash is an international network of activists, called crashers, who share the goal of increasing individual freedom and decreasing the scope of government. Through Bureaucrash Social, crashers connect and collaborate on ways to use guerrilla marketing and new media to introduce others to the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and free markets. In short, we fight for freedom." - " is designed to provide conservative activists with the resources, networking capabilities, and skills they need to revolutionize the struggle against leftist bias and abuse on college campuses.

Created to give conservatives powerful new weapons in their fight for the hearts and minds of the next generation of citizens, politicians, and members of the media, facilitates the establishment of conservative student networks and supports their development as a powerful voice of activism on their campuses. It makes available new opportunities for groups’ interaction with alumni, parents, faculty, and other members of the broader community interested in taking a stand for conservative principles on America’s college campuses.

Connecting up-to-date communications technologies to a principled stand for limited government, the free market, national defense, and traditional values, makes possible a new generation of student activism to identify, expose, and combat the radical left now."

Collegiate Network - "For more than 25 years, the Collegiate Network has supported independent college newspapers that serve to focus public awareness on the politicization of American college and university classrooms, curricula, student life, and the resulting decline of educational standards. Each year over 100 papers across the country enjoy the benefits of a membership with the Collegiate Network, and the number continues to grow. CN member papers have earned reputations for both in-depth reporting and witty commentary. They serve to raise the level of discourse on the campus and provide an outlet for students to keep university faculty and administrations honest. Many prominent journalists have got their start by working for a CN paper."

Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) - "Today, with a primary focus on students, the Institute continues the work begun by Baldy Harper. The mission of IHS is to support the achievement of a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented, productive students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty and who demonstrate the potential to help change the current climate of opinion to one more congenial to the principles and practice of freedom.

Each year IHS awards over $600,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world. IHS also sponsors the attendance of hundreds of students at its summer seminars and provides various forms of career assistance. Through these and other programs, the Institute promotes the study of liberty across a broad range of disciplines, encouraging understanding, open inquiry, rigorous scholarship, and creative problem-solving."

Intercollegiate Studies Institute - "The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) is a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization whose purpose is to further in successive generations of college youth a better understanding of the values and institutions that sustain a free and humane society.

Founded in 1953, ISI works 'to educate for liberty' — to identify the best and the brightest college students and to nurture in these future leaders the American ideal of ordered liberty. To accomplish this goal, ISI seeks to enhance the rising generation's knowledge of our nation's founding principles — limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, market economy, and moral norms.

Leadership Institute - "The Leadership Institute’s mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this mission, the Institute identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.

Founded in 1979 by its president, Morton C. Blackwell, the Leadership Institute (LI) teaches conservatives the nuts and bolts of how to succeed in the public policy process.

The Institute strives to produce a new generation of public policy leaders unwavering in their commitment to free enterprise, limited government, strong national defense, and traditional values. Institute graduates are equipped with practical skills and professional training to implement sound principles through effective public policy."

Network of enlightened Women (NeW) - "NeW is the nation's premier club for conservative university women. Started as a book club at the University of Virginia in 2004, NeW aims to cultivate a community of conservative women and expand intellectual diversity on university campuses through its focus on education. NeW members meet regularly to discuss issues relating to politics, gender and conservative principles. NeW has expanded to over  twenty colleges nationwide.

NeW has chapters on the following campuses: Arizona College of Law, Arizona State University, College of William and Mary, Emory College of Law, Florida State University, Indiana University, Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Smith College, The King’s College, University of Central Florida, University of Dallas, University of Florida, University of Idaho, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Tampa (MBA Program), University of Virginia, and the University of Virginia Law."

Students for Liberty (SFL) - "The philosophy of liberty is in jeopardy today. The older generations have let us down, and there seem to be few short-term solutions. Our hope for a free society lies in the future. The best investment one can make to promote liberty today is in the youth, particularly in students.

Students are in a unique position that makes them open to the ideas of liberty. Academia is an environment premised on a belief in debate and inquiry where all ideas are welcome to be presented and inspected by each individual. Students have not fully formulated their beliefs and so are interested in inquiring into different world views. But without support from their academic or peer groups, there is no hope for students to consider the ideas of liberty as viable alternatives to authoritarianism.

There are two types of students who enter college: those who are unfamiliar with the ideas of liberty and those who already believe in liberty. Many students have never read Locke’s Second Treatise, Bastiat’s The Law, or even the Declaration of Independence beyond the quote 'Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness'. What these students need is exposure to the principles of liberty that underscore a prosperous society. The second group of students enter academia with the hope of developing a greater understanding of their beliefs, yet that they so often are beaten down to the point where they give up on their belief in liberty and never develop their potential to further the cause or support the philosophy.

The problem is significant, but the solution is clear: There is a need for an organization to counter the climate of authoritarianism on campus by directly supporting students dedicated to liberty.  

SFL provides a year-round forum of support with consulting services, networking, and various resources to students and student organizations."

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Andrew W. Mellon belonged to a remarkable American generation which witnessed the creation and accumulation of individual fortunes in unprecedented abundance by such men as Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie, Morgan, and Frick.

"There's a big difference between entrepreneurs who make a fortune in the market, and those who do so by gaming the government."

Overwhelming evidence belies Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ credo and corroborates that Google has become the 21st century’s quintessential robber baron. No 'law abiding company' has this long of a rap sheet.

"Vice President Joe Biden is an affable fellow, which sometimes makes his tendency to exaggerate the truth somewhat amusing. However, Biden’s latest tall tale is as unamusing as it is wrong.

From the New York Daily News:

'Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government...

James Jerome Hill, builder of the Great Northern railroad, was the only railroad entrepreneur of the nineteenth century who received no federal subsidies to build his railroads.

Senate Republicans blocked President Obama's jobs bill last week, calling it more of the same old stimulus that didn't work, and objecting to a 5.6 percent surcharge on taxpayers that earn more than a million dollars.

When Matthew Josephson wrote The Robber Barons in 1934, he tipped his hand as to his personal prejudice against the capitalists of the late 19th century.

This week we resume the story of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the way it has been applied in United States corporate history, specifically the case of Standard Oil. And when you're talking Standard Oil, you're talking John D. Rockefeller.

Honest, objective historians of the so called 'robber baron' era, such as Gabriel Kolko and Burton Folsom, know that the capitalist bogeyman perspective is simplistic and overwrought.

The judge in the Microsoft antitrust trial, Thomas Penfield Jackson, recently stated that he 'didn’t see a distinction' between Bill Gates’s Microsoft Corporation and John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company.

John D. Rockefeller, like Bill Gates, achieved his economic success by offering the best products for the lowest prices on the free market.

Government as fairy godmother could not, however, subsidize everyone: 'Governmental gifts go to the largest investments'—a survival of the wiliest under laissez-faire slogans. Here were the men called 'Robber Barons' by their critics.

In the ongoing war of ideas in American history, those who advocate government action as an engine of economic development have been encouraged by a general and all-too-human tendency to avoid thinking deeply.

"All the ire at banks and multinational companies by dangerous communists and anti-globalisation hippies is misdirected. They should reserve their venom for the rustic rich-world farmer living the life of Henry David Thoreau."

While tech start-ups are busying themselves inflating the bubble, the Googles and Apples of the industry have bigger ambitions: creating a monopoly.

"Although Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States, he is by no means unique, except for his complexion. He follows in the footsteps of other presidents with a similar vision, the vision at the heart of the Progressive movement that flourished a hundred years ago.

Many of the trends, problems and disasters of our time are a legacy of that era. We can only imagine...

We are now at the mercy of modern Robber Barons, and if history is any judge, it is either them or us.

The Gilded Age expressed Mark Twain’s disillusionment over the decline in his nation from the ... kindly America he remembered from his boyhood to the America of Black Friday, Credit Mobilier, Boss Tweed, Tammany, and the hustle for the fast buck.

This piece comments on the Standard Oil Trust case. According to Epstein, history shows that during Rockefeller's time in the oil industry, prices dropped dramatically, suggesting that Rockefeller's drive and ability to do exceptional business helped rather than hurt the American people.

Can America's schools teach history? The question ought to be ridiculous -- of course they can. What do we pay them for? History is as essential as reading and writing to a republic of free citizens. America's schools have always taught America's history.

It sounds like such an ugly term, 'Robber Baron.' The phrase brings to mind thoughts of abuse and theft. But who and what exactly did these so called Robber Barons rob?

t is worth noting that the term 'robber barons' was first applied to 19th-century captains of industry by Matthew Josephson in his 1934 book of that name.

The AP History view of the 'robber barons' like John D. Rockefeller is that they monopolized entire industries, forced smaller competitors out of business ... and generally did all of this much to the detriment of the American consumers.

Chart or Graph

Look at America's billionaires as they stood at the peak of wealth concentration--and the peak of the relative frequency of billionaires-- in approximately 1900.

Created by G.F. Keller in 1882, this cartoon depicts the octopus-like reach of the railroad industry monopoly.

John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He retired from Standard Oil in 1897. Look at what happened to the price of oil during the time he ran the company.

Created by Udo J. Keppler in 1904, this famous cartoon depicts John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company as an octopus wrapping its tentacles around all areas of government.

Analysis Report White Paper

"From 1906 to 1911, antitrust authorities prosecuted Standard Oil, a case that culminated with John D. Rockefeller's company being forcibly broken up into several smaller businesses."

This work traces the business enterprises of notorious Robber Baron Jay Gould.

"Some years ago I wrote an article for the Business History Review that bore the title 'In Search of Jay Gould.'"

"Early in 1869, the more sensitive citizens of New York became aware that an insufferable hayseed from Vermont named James Fisk Jr. was exceeding even his previous demonstrations of vulgarity."

Contrary to popular opinion of John D. Rockefeller, this article declares that his chief goal was to provide oil for the poor at a decent price. Folsom goes on to describe Rockefeller's strong work ethic and philanthropic spirit, while also describing his sharp and successful career in the oil business.

College and university administrators have always been scrambling for money, and the papers, pledge books, and office files of John D. Rockefeller document the fund-raising efforts of many school administrators in the late nineteenth century.

"The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the pre-dissolution Standard Oil Company actually used predatory price cutting to achieve or maintain its monopoly."

"'Robber Barons': that was what U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson (1934) called the economic princes of his own day. Today we call them 'billionaires.'"

Robber Barons and the pyramid of wealth in the late 19th century.

This paper traces the rise of the Robber Barons in American history. Specifically focusing on Cornelius Vanderbilt, T. J. Stiles describes how Vanderbilt's competitive spirit and enterprising nature led the way in the growth of American corporations.

"Carnegie and the other great business leaders of his generation inaugurated a golden age of American philanthropy."

This document contains a variety of classic cartoons relating to the monopolies generated by the Robber Barons in the late 19th century. Many of the cartoons portray these monopolies as invasive and detrimental to society.

This piece describes the growth of the petroleum industry and how the law of supply and demand played a big role in it. It also discusses John D. Rockefeller's role in the oil refining industry.

"The most vehement and persistent controversy in business history has been that waged by the critics and defenders of the ‘robber baron’ concept of the American businessman."

"Too many generations of Americans have swallowed whole Matthew Josephson's portrait of the great nineteenth-century entrepreneurs as Robber Barons...."

This piece briefly describes the lives and habits of two prominent Robber Barons: J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are often referred to as the time of the 'robber barons.'

"Among the great misconceptions of the free economy is the widely-held belief that 'laissez faire' embodies a natural tendency toward monopoly concentration."


Simply put, Vanderbilt helped to shape our modern corporate economy, often ruthlessly.

LeFevre discusses some common arguments against the "Robber Barons" of the 19th century: the idea that these businessmen acquired their wealth at the expense of other people; that they wanted to become monopolists; and that they had poor taste.

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when market failure can be improved by government intervention.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. discusses various conceptions about American history, including the idea that the "Robber Barons" were harming Americans.

Burt Folsom spoke to conservative students about the role of government, the free market economy, and the history of business and industrial regulation. He also responded to questions from the audience.

"Mr. Krass talked about the life and legacy of Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Krass is the author of Carnegie, published by John Wiley and Sons."

"Edward Renehan, Jr., talked about his biography Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, published by Basic Books. In his book he recounts the life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), who built his fortune on the development of transportation systems and became synonymous with American business. His wealth was historic as upon his death his fortune in today's dollars would have...

John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839 - May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy.

"Professor Friedman explodes the myth that America's 19th century industrialists exploited the ordinary man."

"Edward Renehan talked about The Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons, published by Basic Books. In the book, he argues that Jay Gould, owner of the Union Pacific railroad company and one of the largest investors of his day, has been portrayed unfairly by the press and in previous books about his life. Mr. Renehan says that Mr. Gould's...

"T.J. Stiles talked about his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf, 2009). He was interviewed by Paul Hutton, author of Phil Sheridan and His Army. He also responded to questions from members of the audience."

"America’s experiment with laissez-faire capitalism in the 1800s was a disaster, historians tell us, because businessmen used anticompetitive tactics to form giant, invincible monopolies. The textbook example of these evils of Big Business is John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust. In an era before government regulations and antitrust laws, the story goes, Rockefeller wielded market power to...

"Mr. Chernow discussed his biography Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., published by Random House. Mr. Rockefeller, the world's first billionaire, created the powerful monopoly, Standard Oil, which at one time refined and marketed almost 90 percent of the oil produced in America. Mr. Chernow talked about the life of the industrial tycoon whose life was clouded by controversy and...

Reed explains the many flaws with the prevailing theory that Standard Oil was a monopoly or that the company's founder and president, John Rockefeller, was exploitative....

Primary Document

James J. Hill was a great businessman and amassed the immense fortune typical for an early 20th century robber baron. As the title suggests, this book compiles his many speeches.

This economic classic is noted for providing us with terms for and expositions of such key economic ideas as the division of labor, "invisible hand," self-interest as a beneficial force, and freedom of trade.

"This is neither the time nor the place to characterize or eulogize the maker of ‘this strange eventful history,’ but perhaps it is worth while to recognize that the history really was eventful. And strange. Nothing stranger ever came out of the Arabian Nights than the story of this poor Scotch boy who came to America and step by step, through many trials and triumphs, became the...

This archive from the New York Times gives an interesting glimpse into the philanthropy of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Senator Stanford explained the objects to be attained by the bill recently introduced by himself in the Senate of the United States, with reference to the formation of co-operative associations, substantially as follows….

Written in 1877, this New York Times article provides a contemporary account of the life of a famous Robber Baron, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt.

Written in 1902, this letter to the editor of the New York Times describes medieval robber barons and then compares them to the robber barons of the early 20th century.

This archive from the New York Times briefly chronicles the life of Henry Clay Frick. Frick worked closely with Andrew Carnegie and was classified as one of the great Robber Barons.

Gibbons v. Ogden is considered a landmark supreme court case on the issue of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Aaron Ogden was given an exclusive license to operate a shipping business within the State of New York. He sued a man named Thomas Gibbons, who ran a competing shipping business between New Jersey and New York City, claiming that Gibbon's operations in the...

Written at the time of his death, this archive from the New York Times describes Jay Gould's impressive rise from a fourteen-year-old determined to make his own way in life, to a successful businessman amidst the interests of Wall Street.

In this message, President Grover Cleveland addresses the issue of trusts and monopolies often related to the Robber Barons.

Nations, like men, are travelers. Each one of them moves, through history, toward what we call progress and a new life or toward decay and death.

This citizen was J. Pierpont Morgan, who had just organized the most powerful industrial and financial institution the world has ever known.

This piece presents an extensive biography of J. W. Gates at the time of his death. Classified as a Robber Baron, Gates built his success through steel-related initiatives and investments in the stock market.

This archive from the New York Times presents an obituary for Jay Gould, one of the infamous American Robber Barons.

This document provides a selection of letters written between John D. Rockefeller Sr. and John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Autobiography of John D. Rockefeller.

"The Sherman Act authorized the Federal Government to institute proceedings against trusts in order to dissolve them. Any combination 'in the form of trust or otherwise that was in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations' was declared illegal. Persons forming such combinations were subject to fines of $5,000 and a year in jail. Individuals and companies...

For many years, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company dominated much of the oil production in the United States. In the early twentieth century, Standard Oil was taken to court on the allegation that they had violated the Anti-Trust Act of 1890. This Supreme Court decision delineates the outcomes of this lawsuit.

This archive from the New York Times details the politics in the early 1900s involving the Standard Oil company. Apparently an attempt at an "October surprise," John D. Rockefeller announced his support for the Republican candidate, William Taft. Due to the anti-trust issues Teddy Roosevelt had hurled at Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in the preceding years, Roosevelt's White House...

The problem of the Government is to fix rates which will bring in a maximum amount of revenue to the Treasury and at the same time bear not too heavily on the taxpayer or on business enterprises.

This document provides a look at J. P. Morgan and his business dealings and practices from the eyes of one of his contemporaries.

In this book, Andrew Carnegie, one of the members of the "Robber Baron" class, describes his views on wealth, business, and moral character.

This famous example of early twentieth century "muckraking" was produced by Ida Tarbell in 1904. According to Ms. Tarbell, the Standard Oil Company "was the first in the field, and it has furnished the methods, the charter, and the traditions for its followers." Part two of this volume can be found...

In this book, ‘Masters of Capital’, we have a most remarkable ‘Time and Motion Study’ of Capitalism in action.

Seven men dominate the financial and railroad policies upon three-quarters of the railroad mileage of the United States. Every great highway of commerce lies within the control of one or another of them.

The rise and progress of the Standard Oil Company, from its inception in 1865 till its control, in 1878, of ninety-five per cent. of the oil business of the United States, has presented itself to different critics in somewhat different characters....

Written by Matthew Josephson, this book coined the term "robber baron" and influenced several generations of Americans against the industrial capitalists of the late 19th and early 20th century.

This article offers a look at some of the robber barons through the eyes of their contemporaries.

The old laws, and the old customs which had almost the binding force of law, were once quite sufficient to regulate the accumulation and distribution of wealth.

In this speech, President Teddy Roosevelt addresses several issues related to the Standard Oil Company's monopoly on the American petroleum industry.

"The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those...

Along with Ida Tarbell's The History of the Standard Oil Company, Henry Lloyd Demarest's Wealth Against Commonwealth portrayed the oil monopoly in a negative light and influenced Americans against business and enterprise.

In May last the Supreme Court handed down decisions in the suits in equity brought by the United States to enjoin the further maintenance of the Standard Oil Trust and of the American Tobacco Trust, and to secure their dissolution.

This piece from 1859 compares Cornelius Vanderbilt to German robber barons. According to T. J. Stiles, this piece is probably "the first known use of the metaphor in American journalism."