John D. Rockefeller And Standard Oil In The Gilded Age

1380 words - 6 pages

John D. Rockefeller glared across the conference room table. Maurice Clark, Rockefeller’s partner, confronted him about the expansion of their oil refinery. Clark demanded Rockefeller’s focus on increasing profits at the Cleveland refinery, but Rockefeller wanted to seize an opportunity to enhance the size of their company and raise profits. With their partnership hanging in a balance, the pair auctioned the refinery amongst themselves. Clark started the bidding war at $500, but Rockefeller countered; this continued for hours with the price exceeding $65,000 until an exhausted Clark sold his stake for $72,000, shaking hands with Rockefeller. But, as Clark walked out of the door, a stoic Rockefeller produced a wide grin; his plans for the refinery had already been executed. During that time, all the oil refineries used the most cost effective way possible to produce oil and Rockefeller acknowledged the only way to lower cost was through transportation. With their railroad contracts, Rockefeller was able to dominate the oil industry with Standard Oil and no one could stop him now.
From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Standard Oil dominated the oil industry and developed into one of the United States largest oil refiner. Beginning in 1870, as John D. Rockefeller became concerned about the volatility of the oil market, Rockefeller incorporated the Standard Oil Holding Company in Cleveland, Ohio. He desired to bring stability to the oil markets by creating partnerships and acquiring refineries. Within a few years, Rockefeller arranged “special” contracts that provided shipping rates unattainable by his competitors. By 1885, Standard Oil controlled approximately ninety-five percent of the refinery market. Throughout this period, John D. Rockefeller utilized aggressive acquisition tactics to strengthen the company’s economic position and stabilize the oil sector. As these strategies became more public, the US government launched a criminal investigation against the Standard Oil Holding Company. On August 26 1906, the United States’ presented ten indictments against Standard Oil Trust relating to the contract-fixing scheme. Standard Oil’s Federal anti-trust case revealed the corruption and greed within America’s corporations that triggered the suppression of economic power through the anti-trust movement.
From the 1760s to 1860, the United States of America transitioned into a nation rich with commercial opportunities. Rockefeller formed Standard Oil at the end of this period of economic advancement in America. Standard Oil’s dominance grew rapidly from1860 to 1890; it acquired more refineries and arranged many deals with the transportation companies. Rockefeller’s dealings fell in line with the concept of laissez-faire policies floating around the country during this time. While the laissez-faire economic policies allowed for corporations to conduct business without government interference, a great deal of corruption and exploitation was...

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