Captains Of Industry Essay

1032 words - 5 pages

Rebecca SukertUS HistoryMr. Flieder Period 4October 4, 2014"At the end of the Civil War, America was seen as a failing experiment in democracy; a nation fraying from the inside and at war with itself. Just 50 years later, the United States was the greatest superpower the world had ever seen. This landmark transition was due in no small part to a group of business-savvy, innovative young men: John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Andrew Carnegie" (Captains of Industry). They took their skills in business and sales and used them to remake the American industrial system and some of the most important industries in the world, steel, oil, and railroads and transportation. All "Captains ...view middle of the document...

Another "Captain of Industry," John D. Rockefeller, influenced America's industrial power by creating the concept of trusts and horizontal integration. Rockefeller started out in a partnership business, transporting meat and grain but, eventually went on to bigger projects like the Standard Oil Company. Rockefeller's first trust was called the Standard Oil Company, "A trust agreement is a document that spells out the rules that you want followed for property held in trust for your beneficiaries" (What is a Trust?). Rockefeller used his trust to change his prices so his competitors would have to compete with him, eventually causing them to go out of business, this helped Rockefeller's company to get more customers and have less competition. To rid himself of almost all competition, Rockefeller created the Standard Oil Trust and bought out other smaller oil companies, this lead him to almost have a full monopoly in the oil business (John D. Rockefeller-Biography). The partial monopoly lead the government to put antimonopoly acts in place, causing Rockefeller to split up his trust into many smaller companies. He also used the strategy of horizontal integration, taking control of the oil company's "choking point," in this case the oil refineries, and then taking control of the other stages involved in the oil making and delivering process.The last "Captain of Industry" is Cornelius Vanderbilt. "He began a passenger ferry business in New York harbor with one boat, then started his own steamship company, eventually controlling Hudson River traffic" (Cornelius Vanderbilt-Biography). Though Vanderbilt started in steamships, he realized that traveling on land was more convenient than using a boat to navigate water, so he focused his attention on railroads which were entering a period of expansion (Cornelius Vanderbilt). "This was a major transformation of the railroad network, which...

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