To any other person living on July 8, 1839, it may have seen like any other day. Perhaps that day in Richmond, New York it was sunny, or maybe it rained. Whatever the case, the weather on that day could not possibly have been more inconsequential compared to what was happening in the Rockefeller household. William Rockefeller and his wife Eliza were expecting their second child, a son they would name John. William, already living a vagabond lifestyle and rarely visiting his family by the time of John’s birth, would prove to be a far from ideal father. And so John grew up in a home where his mother taught him thriftiness and struggled to keep stability, and on the occasions he saw his father, was taught to always “trade dishes for platters”. In other words, John learned early on to be frugal and always get the better part of any deal. Biographer Allan Nuvins said that “beyond question, early adversity did much to mold and toughen John’s character” (Nuvins 49).
Skipping forward about 50 years, the Standard Oil Company which Rockefeller founded has become nothing short of a force to be reckoned with. Having absorbed dozens of competitors in not only oil production but also in transportation, Standard Oil was in charge of well over 90% of oil refining in the United States. During four months in 1872 Standard Oil absorbed 22 of the competitor companies in Cleveland, one of the top oil producing regions of the time (Nuvins 363). Such rapid expansion of this massive corporation made it quite difficult to manage, and so around 1882 the Standard Oil Trust was created. This idea of a “trust” meant that one massive blanket corporation would be in charge of the dozens of smaller corporations and made up Standard...
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...derbilt and Carnegie and eventually leading to a new era of American governmental policies on business and monopolies. His massive fortune would be shared with the people, and through his philanthropy new frontiers of medical science, public health, education, and civil rights would be breached. His influence was truly felt worldwide, and it might even confidently be said that no man like him will ever be born again.
1. Abels, Jules. The Rockefeller Millions. London: Frederick Muller, 1967. Print.
2. Latham, Earl. Robber Baron or Industrial Statesman? Boston: D.C. Heath and, 1949. Print.
3. Nevins, Allan. John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise. New York: Scribner, 1940. Print
4. Nevins, Allan. Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller, Industrialist and Philanthropist. New York: Scribner, 1953. Print.
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