John D. Rockefeller as a Robber Baron Essay

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John D. Rockefeller as a Robber Baron

A "robber baron" was someone who employed any means necessary to enrich themselves at the expense of their competitors. Did John D. Rockefeller fall into that category or was he one of the "captains of industry", whose shrewd and innovative leadership brought order out of industrial chaos and generated great fortunes that enriched the public welfare through the workings of various philanthropic agencies that these leaders established? In the early 1860s Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, who came to epitomize both the success and excess of corporate capitalism. His company was based in northwestern Pennsylvania.
A major question historians have disagreed on has been whether
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John D. Rockefeller and his comrades had stolen a long march on their 3 opponents, their tactics shaped themselves already as giant industrialists of the future conquering the pigmies. Josephson said, "Entrenched at the narrows of the mighty river of petroleum, they could no more be dislodged than those other barons, who had planted their castles along the Rhine"(Taking Sides 35).
Ralph W. Hidey and Muriel E. Hidey disagreed with Josephson. In the book Taking Sides, They believe that John D. Rockefeller and his associates created and applied a system for operating a large integrated industrial enterprise, which was one of the earliest representatives of Big Business. He contributed to the development of American petroleum industry and through it to the growth of the economy.
The Hidey's believed that Rockefeller's greatest contribution, beyond the concept of Standard Oil combination itself, was the persuasion of strong men to join the alliance and to work together effectively in its management.
Oil policies went deep into the personalities and early experiences of Rockefeller and his colleagues. They had heightened uncertainty and speculation about their activities by their secrecy in building the alliance and by their evasive and legal testimony on the witness stand. There tended to be aroused antagonism because the very

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