Essay on John D. Rockefeller

1369 Words Apr 15th, 2001 6 Pages
Jessica M. Hintermeister
American History
Louisa Garry
Due: Thursday, March 15, 2001 The Rockefellers feared the temptations of wealth, yet a visitor once described their estate as the kind of place God would have built if only he'd had the money. They amassed a fortune that outraged a Democratic nation, then gave it all away reshaping America. They were the closest thing the country had to a royal family, but the Rockefellers shunned the public eye. For decades, the Rockefeller name was despised in America, associated with John D. Rockefeller Sr.'s feared monopoly, Standard Oil. By the end of his life, Rockefeller had given away half of his fortune. But even his vast philanthropy could not erase the memory of his predatory
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Oil was being used to grease the wheels of America's infant industries, to fuel the expansion of growth. Rockefeller lamented that so many wells were flowing that the price of oil kept falling yet everyone went right on drilling. He saw an industry plagued from overproduction and his own success was being threatened by ruinness cut throat competition. John D. was shrewd enough and he was analytical enough that he realized that in order to figure out a way to save his own firm and his own newly-won fortune, that he had to figure out a solution for the entire industry. It was at that point that John D. began to conceive of the oil industry as one big interrelated mechanism. And you couldn't just change one component, you had to control the entire machine.

In a move that would transform the American economy, Rockefeller set out to replace a world of independent oilmen with a giant company controlled by him. In l870, begging bankers for more loans, he formed Standard Oil of Ohio. The next year, he quietly put what he called "our plan" -- his campaign to dominate the volatile oil industry - into devastating effect. Rockefeller knew that the refiner with the lowest transportation cost could bring rivals to their knees. He entered into a secret alliance with the railroads called the South Improvement Company. In exchange for large, regular shipments, Rockefeller and his allies secured transport rates far
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