John D. Rockefeller Essay, Research Paper
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER John D. Rockefeller was one of the greatest industrialists of all time, but he was also a robber baron. He established a Company called Standard Oil. This company grew to the point where he controlled everything about the oil industry. Which isn’t good because there was no competition in the market and therefore he was free to charge whatever he pleased for the use of his oil.BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Rockefeller was born in Richford, New York, on July 8, 1839, and educated in the public schools of Cleveland, Ohio. He became a bookkeeper in Cleveland at the age of 16. In 1862 he went into business with Samuel Andrews, who invented an inexpensive process for the refinement of crude petroleum. After rapid expansion, the firm was replaced in 1870 by the Standard Oil Company, organized by Rockefeller, his brother William, and several associates.GROWTH OF A FORTUNE: In early 1872 Rockefeller helped form the South Improvement Company, an association of the largest oil refiners in Cleveland, arranging with the railroads for substantial rebates on shipments by members of the association. The arrangement was canceled in three months, after popular protest, but most of Rockefeller’s competitors in Cleveland had already been forced to sell out to his combine. By 1878 Rockefeller had control of 90 percent of the oil refineries in the U.S. and soon afterward a virtual monopoly of the marketing facilities. In 1882 Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Trust. This, the first corporate trust, was declared an illegal monopoly and ordered dissolved by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1892, but actual dissolution was not affected until 1899. In that year, Rockefeller established the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, remaining its president until he retired in 1911. In 1911 the company was broken into separate corporations by an antitrust decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
At its peak, Rockefeller’s personal fortune was estimated at almost $1 billion. The total amount of his generous contributions was about $550 million. Some 80 percent of these funds was given to four charitable organizations founded by Rockefeller. These were the Rockefeller Foundation; the General Education Board; the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University); and the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, established in 1918 and incorporated into the Rockefeller Foundation in 1929. Rockefeller died at Ormond Beach, Florida, May 23, 1937. Rockefeller was declared by many to be an industrialist, but many perceived him as a robber baron because he took advantage of his workers. Many people thought that his tactics were vile and corrupt because he made all of his money by controlling how people would buy oil. I think that his many contributions to different charities does not make up for his taking advantage of the American worker because people work hard for their money and to force them to spend it on your product (which is basically what he did) is wrong. His company eliminated competition from the oil business and without competition he is free to do what he pleases as far as prices go. This is why I think that he should be considered a robber baron and not an industrialist, because anyone that takes a hard-working persons money doesn’t deserve to get positive recognition.