In the years following the Civil War, the American economy was suffering from extreme disorder. However, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, important leaders of American industry arose, essentially transforming the American financial system from chaos to efficiency. These powerful men shaped America into a world superpower and the country’s economy sparked jealous across the globe. Their contributions to business positively affected not only the United States’ economy, but society as well. Andrew Carnegie, John Davison Rockefeller, and John Pierpont Morgan reflect the mammoth industrial age of America. Although some may argue these industrialists were “robber barons,” these men were, in reality, “captains of industry” utilizing modern business practices and technology which provided both cheap products and job opportunities for the public, as well as becoming large-scale philanthropists and contributing much to American society.
Carnegie became the head of the steel industry by founding the Carnegie steel company in the 1870s. He employed the use of new technology which modernized his business strategies. The use of modern technology such as the Bessemer-process among other inventions led to increased productivity, and, in turn, cheaper goods for the American public. These innovations also led to an efficient mass production of steel for railroads, positively influencing transportation as well as westward expansion. Furthermore, the speed at which the production of steel allowed for the construction of railroads instituted infrastructure necessary for the future. Carnegie’s steel industry was clearly technologically ahead of the competition of his time.
Rockefeller sparked efficiency in the oil industry as he created the Standard Oil Company. Like Carnegie, Rockefeller modernized his business ventures by emphasizing the use of modern chemistry. His goal was to spread efficiency and organization throughout every company he owned and operated. Through Rockefeller’s efforts, the chaos of the oil industry was transformed into order and stability. His influence in this industry led to the creation of a myriad of products for the public which only bettered their ways of life. Similar to Carnegie, Rockefeller also fostered lower prices for oil, making light cheap and available to the public as the oil was mainly utilized in kerosene lamps. His Standard Oil Company served as precursor of America’s economic success both at home and on an international level.
Morgan, along with Carnegie and Rockefeller, worked to make the American economy organized and systematic. In fact, Morgan effectively bailed out the American financial system two times. At one point, the U.S. Treasury seemed on the brink of failure as it “didn’t have enough gold in reserve to meet its bills” (27). J.P. Morgan provided the nation with $62 million, saving the American economy. Later on, the nation faced a financial problem, so destructive that it...