Essay John D. Rockefeller

Words: 1365
Pages: 6

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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Individualism is gone forever, never to return" (Hawke 128).
Their great business capacity would have insure the managers of the Standard Oil Company success, but the means by which they achieved monopoly was by conspiracy with the railroads. John D. Rockefeller killed his rivals by getting the great Railroad lines to refuse to give them transportation. Multimillionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt, the king of railroads, is reported to have said that there was but one man, Rockefeller, who could dictate to him. Whether or not Vanderbilt said it, Rockefeller did it. Rockefeller might create a shortage of the railroad tank cars that transported oil. He might go out and buy up all the barrels on the market so a competitor would have no place to store his oil or ship it. He would even buy up all the available chemicals that were necessary to refine oil.
Ida Tarbell, the daughter of an oil man, later remembered how men like her father struggled to make sense of events: "I never had an animus against Standard Oil's size and wealth, never objected to their corporate form," "I was willing that they should combine and grow as big and rich as they could, but only by legitimate means. But they had never played fair, and that ruined their greatness for me" (Bruce 90). Rockefeller, of course, disagreed: "It was the law of nature, the survival of the fittest, that (the small refiners) could not last against such a competitor. Undoubtedly… some of them were very