John D. Rockefeller
By: Jude Revere Farrell 1st
John D. Rockefeller Sr. was essential for the Industrial Revolution because he controlled nearly all the oil in America by the 1880's.
As a boy, Rockefeller was always interested in business. He was always selling milk, candy, or whatever he could. He just was a natural prodigy at business, knowing how to keep prices low, but still making a profit. By the time he was 12 years old, he had saved $50. When he was 16, he got his first real job as an assistant bookkeeper at Hewitt & Tuttle. He worked extremely hard at his job for about 4 years. When he was 20, he and another business partner ventured out on their own as commission merchants. By the end of the company's first year, it had made $450,000.
When the oil business came east to Pennsylvania, Rockefeller came with it. Rockefeller felt an opportunity to move into the oil business, and in 1863, he opened his first oil refinery. In 1865, Rockefeller borrowed money to buy out the refinery, which was the biggest one in Cleveland. Over the next few years, he gained more partners in the growing oil business. At the time, oil was becoming an economic staple. In 1870, Rockefeller formed Standard Oil with his younger brother William, Henry Flagler, and some other men. He was the president and was the biggest shareholder. The oil business was going well for Rockefeller.
Standard Oil made a near-monopoly of the oil business by buying out other companies. His success lead to the creation of the Standard Oil trust. By the 1880's, Standard Oil controlled nearly 90% of the oil in the U.S. Rockefeller was accused of beating out competition, bribing men to spy on rival companies, making secret agreements, and so on. In 1890, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, prohibiting trusts and combinations that restrained trade. Two years later, the Supreme Court destroyed the Standard Oil Trust, however the businesses inside the trust quickly became part of the Standard Oil of New Jersey. In 1911, after years of litigated complaints, Supreme Court ruled that the Standard Oil of New Jersey was violating the antitrust laws and made it dissolve immediately. John D. Rockefeller retired in the mid-1890's. Rockefeller was a big impact in the Industrial Revolution because he controlled all the oil which fueled nearly everything at that time.