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Industrial America

Industrial America
During the late 19th century, the industrial sectors of society rapidly expanded. Corporations emerged, and the captains of industry created ,major industrial empires that drastically changed the face of American business. Although many opposed the large businesses when they hurt individuals, Americans generally favored industrialization. Even the common man shared in the American desire to gain wealth through the new industrial economy.

Laissez-faire: It meant non-governmental interference in business. The doctrine favors capitalist self-interest, competition, and natural consumer preferences as forces leading to optimal prosperity and freedom. It began in the late 18th century as a strong liberal reaction to trade taxation and nationalist governmental control known as mercantilism.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations: In The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Adam Smith believed that self-interest was an "invisible hand in the marketplace, automatically regulating the supply of and demand for goods and services." He endorsed a laissez-faire approach to economics and was the first to define the system of capitalism.

Andrew Carnegie:
Carnegie decided to build his own steel mill in 1870. His philosophy was simple: "watch the costs and the profit will take care of themselves." At the age of 33, when he had an annual income of $50,000, he said, "beyond this never earn, make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes."

Union Pacific Railroad, Central Pacific Railroad:
The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 had authorized the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were joined together to form the first transcontinental railroad in May 1869 when railroad executives drove a golden spike into the ground at Promontory Point, Utah in order to connect the two. It allowed Americans to travel from coast to coast in a week; it had previously taken several months to do so.

"Robber Barrons": Known as the great captains of industy and as robber barons who lined their pockets, these captains, or villains, of industry made their money by manipulating the stock markets and company policies. Some of these Robber Barrons were Jay Gould, Hill, and John D. Rockefeller.

John D. Rockefeller:
He is famous for his Standard Oil Company. He had a desire for cost cutting and efficiency. Rockefeller helped form the South Improvement Company in early 1872, which was an association of the largest oil refiners in Cleveland, and he arranged with the railroads to obtain substantial rebates on shipments by members of the association.

Standard Oil Company:
The Standard Oil Company was organized in 1870 by Rockefeller, his brother William, and several associates. In 1882 Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Trust. This, the first corporate trust, was declared an illegal monopoly and ordered dissolved by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1892.

Horizontal consolidation: Within three years, the Standard Oil Trust had consolidated crude oil by buying throughout its member firms. It had slashed the number of refineries in half. Rockefeller integrated the petroleum industry horizontally by merging the competing oil companies into one giant system.

Vertical consolidation: The Standard Oil Trust had consolidated crude-oil buying throughout it members firms and slashed the number of refineries in half. Rockefeller integrated the petroleum industry vertically by controlling every function from production to local retailing. He controlled all aspects of manufacturing from mining to selling.

Henry Clay Frick:
Frick’s job was to manage the daily operations of Carnegie’s company. With Frick’s great leadership, Carnegie’s steel mill profits rose every year despite labor troubles and a national depression. With Henry’s help, Carnegie was free to pursue philanthropic activities.

Charles Schwab:
He became president of Carnegie Steel when he bought half of the company for half a billion dollars. Therefore, he combined Carnegie’s company with Federal Steel. After the agreement, Morgan set up the U.S. Steel corporation. This became the first business to capitalize at more than $1 billion dollars.

Thomas A. Edison: He epitomized the inventive impulse. An American inventor, his development of a practical electric light bulb, electric generating system, sound-recording device, and motion picture projector had advanced the life of modern society. He shared the same dream as Carnegie to interconnect industry system with technology.

Alexander Graham Bell:
An American inventor and teacher of the deaf, he was most famous for his invention of the telephone. Since the age of 18, Bell had been working on the idea of transmitting speech. He was one of the cofounders of the National Geographic Society, and he served as its president from 1896 to 1904. He also founded the journal Science in 1883. His other inventions includes the induction balance, audiometer, and the first was recording cylinder introduced in 1885.

Leland Stanford:
An American Railroad magnate and a politician, he served as the Republican governor of California and the U.S. senator from California. With Hill, he started the Central Pacific Railroad Company, and in 1870, he founded the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.

James G. Hill, Great Northern Railroad: He reorganized and expanded the railroad industry in the 1870s and 1880s. He was exemplified as a robber baron who manipulated stock markets and company policies. He and three other partners bought the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.

Cornelius Vanderbilt: An American industrialist and philanthropist, he became associated with the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1867, and became president in 1886. At the same time he began to act as head of the Vanderbilt family. He founded the Vanderbilt University.

Bessemer process: The process consisted of a shot of air blasted through an enormous crucible of molten iron to burn off carbon and impurities. This new technology, combined with cost analysis, provided a learning railroad experience for Carnegie. The bessemer invention offered a means of driving up profits, lowering cost, and improving efficiency.

United States Steel Corporation, Elbert H. Gary:
Gary was a lawyer who later became president of the Federal Steel Company in 1898. Gary was a strong foe of unions, but he introduced profit sharing and encouraged higher wages and better working conditions. The city of Gary, Indiana., originally a steel company town, is named after him.

Mesabi Range:
Andrew Carnegie bought an ore company in the newly opened Mesabi Range in Minnesota in 1892. The hills contained large deposits of iron ore. The Mesabi Range is one of the chief iron-producing regions in the world. Iron production began there in the late 19th century.

J. Pierpont Morgan: When national depression struck a number of railroads in 1893, Morgan refinanced their debts and built an intersystem alliance by purchasing blocks of stock in the world of competing railroads. He also marketed U.S. government securities on a massive scale.

Gustavus Swift, Phillip Armour:
Swift, a Chicago meatpacker, and Philip Armour turned pigs and cattle into bacon, pork chops, and steaks. They also developed the technique of refrigerating food in order to ship food across seas. They both won a large share of the eastern urban market for meat.

James B. Duke: An American tobacco industrialist and philanthropist whose career originated with a small family business, James, along with four partners, merged to form the American Tobacco Company in 1890. The family concentrated on cigarette production in 1881. Within few years, James lead and dominated the national market.

Andrew Mellon: An American financier, industrialist, and statesman, and educated at the University of Pennsylvania, he started his career in the banking firm of Thomas Mellon and Sons of Pittsburgh. He later became a partner and the president, in 1902, of the firm that developed into the Mellon National Bank.

"Stock watering": This term referred to the act of issuing stock certificates far in excess of the actual value of the assets. Some who "stock watered" persuaded the populace to buy up stock, but then sold the stock when prices rose, and made a profit while ruining the business of other investors. This was during 1890 when the stock market was at an all time high.

Jay Cook Co.:
He was a Philadelphia banker who had taken over the new transcontinental line, the Northern Pacific, in 1869. In September of that year, his vault was full of bonds that he could no longer sell. Cook fail to meet obligation and his bank, which was the largest in the nation, was shut down.

Jay Gould and Jim Fiske: They attempted to corner the gold market in 1869 with the help of Grant’s brother-in-law. When gold prices tumbled, Gould and Fiske salvaged their own fortunes. Unfortunately, investors were ruined. Grant’s reputation was tarnished and could not be restored.

Pool, Trust: Competition became so vicious that railroads tried to end it by establishing pools in order to divide the traffic equally and to charge similar rates. The pool lacked legal status, while the trust was a legal device that centralized control over a number of different companies by setting up a board of trustees to run all of them.

Rebates: A rebate is a partial monetary return of an amount paid. The Interstate Commerce Act prohibited rebates for railway rates because they discriminated between different groups. Small farmers were angered that they were required to pay more than other interests were. This Act was passed in 1887 with the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Depression of 1873: Early in Grant’s second term, the country was hit by an economic depression known as the panic of 1873. Brought on by over expansive tendencies of railroad builders and businessmen during the immediate postwar boom, the Panic was triggered by economic downturns in Europe and by the failure of Jay Cooke’s bank.

Holding Companies: A holding company is a corporation that owns a controlling share of the stock of one or more other firms. When Standard Oil faced the problem of antitrust suits in 1892, lawyers invoked New Jersey law that allowed permitted corporations to own property in other states by simply reorganizing the trust as an enormous holding company.

Fourteenth Amendment’s "due process clause":
The fourteenth amendment declared in its first clause that all person born or naturalized in the United States were recognized as citizens of the nation and as citizens of their states and that no state could abridge their rights without due process of law or deny them equal protection of the law.

Interstate Commerce Act, Interstate Commerce Commission: The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was passed to provide that a commission be established to oversee fair and just railway rates, prohibit rebates, end discriminatory practices, and require annual reports and financial statements. The act established a new agncy, the Interstate Commerce Commission, which allowed the government to investigate and oversee railroad activities.

Long haul, short haul:
It was cheaper to ship a long haul on the railroads than it was to ship a short haul. Small farmers were angered that they, who made many short hauls, were discriminated against. In the 1870s, many state legislatures, outlawed rate discrimination as a result of protests led by the Grangers.

Sherman Antitrust Act, 1890:
Fearing that the trusts would stamp out all competition, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, which outlawed trusts and other restraints of trade. Violators were fined up to five thousand dollars and one year in prison. The Sherman Antitrust act failed to define either trust or restraint of trade clearly. As a result, between 1890 and 1904, the government prosecuted only eighteen antitrust suits, and it was instead used to hinder the efforts of labor unions who acted "in restraint of trade."

Frank Norris, The Octopus:The U.S. novelist Frank Norris, was a noted pioneer of naturalism in literature. His novels portray the demoralizing effects of modern technology on the human fate. His best-known works, The Octopus, published in 1901, and The Pit , published in 1903, attack the railroad and wheat industries in the United States.

New South, Henry Grady: Henry Grady was a U.S. journalist and orator born in Athens, Georgia. He bought share in Atlantic Constitution in 1879. As editor, he did much to restore friendly relations between the North and South during a period of bitter hatred and conflict. He often lectured on the concept of "The New South," which referred to a rejuvenated south.

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