During the time perios between the late nineteenth century and the early 20th century, the rise of big business in America established what is know as the "gilded age". This gilded age was characterized by terrible poverty among the working masses and immigrant populations in the northeastern cities. Their poverty can be attributed to the small wages that they earned by working long hours, under harsh conditions each day. By undercutting labor and prices, Big Businnes efficiently eliminated its smaller and weaker compitition, thus creating monopolies. One such example is the near monopoly of oil created by John D Rockefeller. Rockefeller's dominating standard oil company was successful in undercutting almost every single other oil seller. By 1892, rockefeller controlled everything from oil, well exploration and production to the establishment of gas stations. Such monopolies as these led the government to take action. In the clayton antitrust act of 1914, the government outlawed a series of business practices aimed at creating monopolies.
In the same year, congress created the federal trade comission, which investigated business practices that unfairly prevented competition. Begining in the early 20th century, many journalist began to investigate industrial life. President theodore roosevelt gave these journalist the nick name muckrakers in 1906. These Mukrakers had the ability to expose the dirtiest aspects of the nations political and economic institutions.