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2nd Industrial Revolution: Elevators vs. Communism

Chris Ocker, Staff Writer

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This past week, Mr. McCrystal’s US History I Honors class had a very fun and intense few days. A homework assignment made each student role-play an industrialist in a March Madness bracket that pitted them against each other. The 20 person bracket was split into four different round including the preliminaries. Every round, each student would present a single point as to why their figure was better than the other. The class then would have a thoughtful discussion before finally having a vote. The conclusion was both extremely surprising and ridiculously entertaining.

While some were concerned that the more famous figures were going to win handily, that was often not the case. The number 19th seed Gustavus Swift ultimately demolished the number 1 seed Rockefeller with his point about the age of cheap beef. There was even one tie between Jay Gould and Andrew Carnegie that resulted in a very intense overtime ending with Gould being victorious. Unfortunately, Tesla and Edison did not get to face off, which was a huge disappointment.

The arguments were equally as entertaining. One of the first battles had the Wright brothers argue for capitalism and Karl Marx argued for communism. Tesla brought up how he had the first idea for a smartphone a century before it was invented. However, some figures had to stretch to get multiple points such as Edwin Drake who could only talk about how he drilled for oil.

After dozens of rounds, the class finally reached the final battle: Karl Marx vs Elisha Otis. Elisha Otis was the number 18 seed underdog, only barely making it past J.P. Morgan. On the other hand, Karl Marx continually destroyed his competition with how he defined the 20th century. Otis’s final point was about how his invention of the elevator helped the construction of hundreds of skyscrapers. Karl Marx argued for how his ideas of socialism are all resurfacing today in political candidates. So, in the end, the assignment ended in a war between the inventor of the elevator and the father of communism. By a very close 11-9 vote, Elisha Otis won and became the winner of the 2017 Second Industrial Revolution bracket.

And that is the story of how elevators overcame communism.

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2nd Industrial Revolution: Elevators vs. Communism