John D. Rockefeller was one of the richest Americans in history. He was born on July 8, 1939 in Richford, New York. Although he was born in Richford, Rockefeller was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He went to Cleveland Central High School. Even at a young age Rockefeller was doing business. He would buy candies and sell them for a profit. At age 16 Rockefeller became a clerk in a commission house. With his mind set on owning his own business Rockefeller saved all his money and in 1850 went into business with an Englishman named Maurice Clark. The company was Clark & Rockefeller Produce and Commission. It sold implements, fertilizers and household goods.
Although it was fairly successful it did not bring him to his goal. In 1862 after hearing that Samuel Andrews developed a cheaper and more efficient way of refining crude petroleum, Rockefeller sold his business. He invested it in a new company that he set up with Andrews. The company was called Standard Oil. Rockefeller encountered a problem with transporting his oil. The prices were too high. To send oil to Cleveland it cost forty cents a barrel. Sending it to New York cost two dollars a barrel. Rockefeller made a deal with the railroad company and the prices dropped to thirty-five cents to Cleveland and a dollar and thirty cents to New York. As a result his oil prices were reduced and sales increased dramatically.
Within only a year four out of thirty of his competitors were out of business. Eventually oil refining in Cleveland was monopolized by Standard Oil. For a million dollars Rockefeller bought out Andrews and worked on his goal of controlling the oil industry throughout the United States. By 1890 Rockefeller’s company became an immense monopoly. He could set his own terms of business and even prices because there were no competitors. Other companies had no choice either they got swallowed up by the Standard Oil company or they got crushed. In 1896 Rockefeller was worth about $200 million.
In 1911 the Supreme Court dissolved the Standard Oil monopoly because of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Rockefeller soon became one of the most hated men in America. Being a devout Baptist Rockefeller started to give his money away. He even set up a project to help mankind called the Rockefeller Foundation. Rockefeller gave over $500 million in aide to medical research, schools, and Baptist churches. Rockefeller died on May 23, 1937. By then he was a popular national figure.
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