The Robber Barons- John Rockefeller: Historian Matthew Josephson's thesis

Essay by peteyflowHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2007

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It is historian Matthew Josephson's thesis that John Rockefeller was a 'Robber Baron,' an exploiter of capitalism who crushed the smaller capitalists, who brought hardships to many, but from a socialist's point of view, praised for doing so.

Although his immoral methods of monopolization were quite atrocious, which was why he was dubbed a 'Robber Baron,' he was still far ahead of his time and competition and was in control of the majority of the oil market. Secret rebates offered by the railroads industry, he received 50 cents a barrel, giving him an advantage of 25 percent over his competitors. Moreover four-fifth of the refining trade, were brought into an alliance with the Standard Oil Company by 1875-78. Thus the cooperation of other companies ultimately led to his rise in great power. To do so, he strenuously convinced them that it would be better for them to cooperate.

Rockefeller and Flagler had come to a conference of the irate diggers of petroleum with mild proposal of peaceful cooperation, which then came to be the "Pittsburgh Plan," thus the two harmonious forces joined together. In effect, it would control almost all stages of oil to where the company will make most of the profit.

An example of bringing hardships to everyone was his ruthless exploits which put rival companies to be bankrupt. He was a greedy, ruthless, self-serving, and harmful monopolist. In some instances, he would make offers to people on oil refineries drastically below the former purchase price. John Rockefeller found every way to exploit his opponents. At first, he made people apart of his pool, and then would slowly cut their share out. He only offered 37 percent and a half from the original cost of a plant, thus the only options to turn...