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John D. Rockefeller
Transcript of John D. Rockefeller
Living standards increase:
Rockefeller's consolidated oil business leads to more easily accessed refined oil
Small percentage of rich get extraordinarily richer
Poor get poorer
1% of the nation's families controlled roughly 88% of the nation's assets
Wage gap: immigration allows for easy low pay by Rockefeller's corporations
Monopolies: prices increase with no competition
How He Became the Most Powerful Man in the World
Vol XII, No. 47
Standard Oil Buys Out Competition
John D. Rockefeller became a huge power figure in late 1800s to early 1900s America because of his monopolies, social influence, and economic power. By utilizing both horizontal and vertical consolidation, Rockefeller was able to gain huge power and influence over many institutions in American society, including social ideas and the American economy. With his societal standing, Rockefeller was able to further the idea of social Darwinism. Because of his company's power, prices could be set as high as desired and could pay workers wages well below what was needed to survive, manipulating the American economy at his whim. Being able to influence the lives of so many people just by his choice certainly makes Rockefeller one of the, if not the most, powerful person in the United States of that era.
Bought out competing refineries (horizontal)
Built barrel factories, terminal warehouses, and pipelines (vertical)
Owned its own freight cars
Avoids dependence on other companies
Horizontal and Vertical Consolidation
Use dubious means to create monopoly
Alliances with railroads
Huge public disapproval
Lost jobs, increased costs, etc.
Lot of media coverage
Theory: success through hard work
The "Self-Made Man"
Rockefeller extended this image with his modest upbringing
Reality: successful mostly because privileged
Backed because the wealthy want to validate position
Gloss over foul play such as the Erie War
Myth of the "Self-Made Man"
John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller became the most powerful man in America at the turn of the twentieth century due to his strategic monopolies, social effects, and economic influences.
Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey. Boston: McGraw-Hill College, 1999. Print.
Martin, Albro. "Rockefeller, John D. (1839–1937)." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2014. Web. 8 June 2014.
"Rockefeller, John D. (1839–1937)." Reviewed by Gerald Kurland. The New Book of Knowledge. Grolier Online, 2014. Web. 5 June 2014.
"Standard Oil Company." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2014. Web. 8 June 2014.
The Rise of a Monopoly
Before: trust agreements
Small group of trustees exchange shares for stocks
Now: Corporate mergers legal
Standard Oil moves to New Jersey to take advantage
Part of 1% of US corporations that controls 33% of manufacturing industry
Company mergers quickly adopted in several states
Rise of a Titan
1889 New Jersey Legislature Opens New Doors to Corporations
Survival of the Fittest: Social Darwinism
The belief that one's success relied solely on effort
Justified massive wealth with "worthiness"
Rockefeller popularized Social Darwinism, values of hard work/thrift
The rise of large business is not evil, but dictated by nature
Labor unions "doomed to fail" because they contrasted the laws of competition
An Unstable Economy
Standard Oil's monopoly is able to charge high prices because no competition
More economic instability because production > demand
Unstable economy lead to frequent recessions
Called the Long Depression (1873-96)