Monopolies During The Gilded Age

523 Words3 Pages

In the late 1800’s, American business was just starting to take the familiar shape we know today. Inventions and innovations in factories were changing the meaning of ‘efficiency’ to business owners. This era has been referred to as the Gilded Age. This is because on the surface, things were going very well for industry. However, the sudden change led to problems such as child labor and dangerous working conditions, all for very little pay. Another unpleasant side affect of the sudden industrial boom was the rise of trusts and monopolies. Both were severely detrimental to workers, as well as to consumers. For this reason, the government had a responsibility to break up prominent monopolies, such as the one held by Standard Oil. A trust forms when a company has control of several other companies in the same business. When that company controls all other companies in the same industry, the trust becomes …show more content…

When a vast number of those people are cheated and abused by a business, it is obligated to intervene. In a famous muckraking article written in 1904, Ida Tarbell described John D. Rockefeller as a man who ‘played with loaded dice’, and he played against the American working class (The History of the Standard Oil Company). With his massive monopoly on oil, small refineries that had been in families for generations were forced out of business. Many defenders of the Standard Oil monopoly would say “its business.” Somehow these two simple words are meant to excuse Standard Oil from basic rules of ethics. They, because they had been the sole major refiner of oil, a consumer could find themselves paying twice what they used to for the same product. Workers in acquired companies could find themselves forced into poverty by lowered wages. All of this hardship, brought about by one monopoly, which the government had previously been prepared to eliminate. Why then, would they not enforce their anti-trust

Open Document