The History of the Standard Oil Company: Briefer Version

The History of the Standard Oil Company: Briefer Version

by Ida M. Tarbell, Ambroise Mark Vollard
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0486428214

ISBN-13: 9780486428215

Pub. Date: 02/10/2003

Publisher: Courier Corporation


Muckrakers — a term coined in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt — referred to American journalists, novelists and critics who, in the early 20th century, attempted to expose corruption in politics and the abuses of big business. One publication spearheading these exposés was McClures Magazine, and Ida Tarbell was the writer whose dramatic

Overview


Muckrakers — a term coined in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt — referred to American journalists, novelists and critics who, in the early 20th century, attempted to expose corruption in politics and the abuses of big business. One publication spearheading these exposés was McClures Magazine, and Ida Tarbell was the writer whose dramatic revelations eventually lead to effective regulation of the Standard Oil Company. Her story, serialized by McClure's in 1902 and 1903, tells the history of John D. Rockefeller's company. The first major industrial monopoly in the U.S., Standard Oil, in 1901, was the largest corporation in the country, and at its peak, controlled as much as eighty-five percent of oil refining in America. But with all his wealth and power, Rockfeller could not protect himself from Tarbell. Her story of the company, which became a model for militant journalists in the future, managed to place the blame for increasingly commercialized American ideals and practical behavior at Rockefeller's doorstep. Combining descriptions of his business practices with his personal characteristics and even his physical appearance, Tarbell created an image of a cunning and ruthless person — a picture that not even decades of Rockefeller philanthropy were able to dispel. This edition (the "briefer version" of her book; the original was more than 800 pages.) makes a great muckraking classic much more accessible to readers. As such, it will be invaluable to students and teachers of American economic history and a fascinating read for anyone interested in the muckraking era and the days of unregulated big business.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486428215
Publisher:
Courier Corporation
Publication date:
02/10/2003
Series:
Business and Economics Series
Edition description:
Abridged
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
310,373
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.57(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
About the Editor
Note
Author's Preface
1. THE BIRTH OF AN INDUSTRY
  Petroleum first a curiosity and then a medicine
  Discovery of its real value
  The story of how it came to be produced in large quantities
  Great flow of oil
  Swarm of problems to solve
  Storage and transportation
  Refining and marketing
  Rapid extension of the field of operation
  Workers in great numbers with plenty of capital
  Costly blunders frequently made
  But every difficulty being met and overcome
  The normal unfolding of a new and wonderful opportunity for individual endeavour
2. THE RISE OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY
  John D. Rockefeller's first connection with the oil business
  Stories of his early life in Cleveland
  His first partners
  "Organisation of the Standard Oil Company in June, 1870"
  Rockefeller's able associates
  First evidence of railway discriminations in the oil business
  Rebates found to be generally given to large shippers
  First plan for a secret combination
  The South Improvement Company
  Secret contracts made with the railroads providing rebates and drawbacks
  Rockefeller and associates force Cleveland refiners to join the new combination or sell
  Rumour of the plan reaches the oil regions
3. THE OIL WAR OF 1872
  Rising in the oil regions against the South Improvement Company
  Petroleum Producers' Union organised
  Oilblockade against members of South Improvement Company and against railroads implicated
  Congressional investigation of 1872 and the documents it revealed
  Public discussion and general condemnation of the South Improvement Company
  Railroad officials confer with committee from Petroleum Producers' Union
  Watson and Rockefeller refused admittance to conference
  Railroads revoke contracts with South Improvement Company and make contract with Petroleum Producers' Union
  Blockade against South Improvement Company lifted
  Oil war officially ended
  Rockefeller continues to get rebates
  His great plan still a living purpose
4. "AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE"
  Rockefeller and his party now propose an open instead of a secret combination
  "The Pittsburg Plan"
  The scheme is not approved by the oil regions because its chief strength is the rebate
  Rockefeller not discouraged
  Three months later becomes president of National Refiners' Association
  Four-fifths of refining interest of United States with him
  Oil regions aroused
  Producers' Union order drillings stopped and a thirty day shut-down to counteract falling price of crude
  Petroleum Producers' Agency formed to enable producers to control their own oil
  Rockefeller outgenerals his opponents and forces a combination of refiners and producers
  Producers' association and producers' agency snuffed out
  National Refiners' Association disbands
  Rockefeller steadily gaining ground
5. LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS OF A TRUST
  Evidence of reappearance of rebates soon after agreement of March 25 is signed
  Principle thoroughly established that large shippers shall have advantages over small shippers in spite of railroads' duty as common carriers
  Agreement worked out by which three roads are to have fixed percentage of eastern shipments
  Oil regions robbed of their geographical advantage
  The Rutter circular
  The Rockefeller circular
  Rockefeller now secretly plans realisation of his dream of personal control of the refining of oil
  Organisation of the Central Association
  H. H. Rogers' defence of the plan
  Rockefeller's quiet and successful canvass for alliances with refiners
  The rebate his weapon
  Consolidation by persuasion or force
  More talk of a united effort to counteract the movement
6. STRENGTHENING THE FOUNDATIONS
  First Interstate Commerce Bill
  The bill pigeon-holed through efforts of Standard's friends
  Independents seek relief by proposed construction of pipe-lines
  Plans for the first Seaboard Pipe-line
  Scheme fails on account of mismanagement and Standard and railroad opposition
  Development of the Empire Transportation Company and its proposed connection with the refining business
  "Stand, Erie and Central fight the Empire Transportation Company and its backer, the Pennsylvania Railroad"
  The Pennsylvania finally quits after a bitter and costly war
  Empire Line sold to the Standard
  Entire pipe-line system of oil regions now in Rockefeller's hands
  New railroad pool between four roads
  Rockefeller puts into operation system of drawbacks on other people's shipments
  He proceeds rapidly with the work of absorbing rivals
7. THE CRISIS OF 1878
  A rise in oil
  A blockade in exports
  Producers do not get their share of the profits
  They secretly organise the Petroleum Producers' Union and promise to support proposed independent pipe-lines
  Another Interstate Commerce Bill defeated at Washington
  "Immediate Shipment"
  Independents have trouble getting cars
  Riots threatened
  Appeal to Governor Hartranft
  "Suits brought against United Pipe-lines, Pennsylvania Railroad and others "
  Investigations precipitated in other states
  The Hepburn Commission and the Ohio investigation
  Evidence that the Standard is a continuation of the South Improvement Company
  Producers finally decide to proceed against Standard officials
  Rockefeller and eight of his associates indicted for conspiracy
8. THE COMPROMISE OF 1880
  The producers' suit against Rockefeller and his associates used by the Standard to protect itself
  Suits against the transportation companies are delayed
  Trial of Rockefeller and his associates for conspiracy postponed
  All of the suits withdrawn in return for agreements of the Standard and the Pennsylvania to cease their practices against the producers
  With this compromise the Second Petroleum Producers' Union comes to an end
  Producers themselves to blame for not standing behind their leaders
  Standard again enforces orders objectionable to producers
  More outbreaks in the oil regions
  Rockefeller having silenced organised opposition proceeds to silence individual complaint
9. THE FIGHT FOR THE SEABOARD PIPE-LINE
  Project for Seaboard Pipe-line pushed by independents
  Tidewater Pipe Company formed
  Oil pumped over mountains for the first time
  Independent refiners ready to unite with Tidewater because it promises to free them from railroads
  The Standard face to face with a new problem
  Day of the railroads over as long distance transporters of oil
  National Transit Company formed
  War on the Tidewater begun
  Plan to wreck its credit and buy it in
  Rockefeller buys a third of the Tidewater's stock
  The Standard and Tidewater become allies
  National Transit Company now controls all pipe-lines
  Agreement entered into with Pennsylvania Railroad to divide the business of transporting oil
10. CUTTING TO KILL
  Rockefeller now plans to organise oil marketing as he had already organised oil transporting and refining
  Wonderfully efficient and economical system installed
  Curious practices introduced
  Reports of competitors' business secured from railway agents
  Competitors' clerks sometimes secured as allies
  In many instances full records of all oil shipped are given Standard by railway and steamship companies
  This information is used by Standard to fight competitors
  Competitors driven out by underselling
  Evidence from all over the country
  Pretended independent oil companies started by the Standard
  Standard's explanation of these practices is not satisfactory
  Public derives no benefit from temporary lowering of prices
  Prices made abnormally high when competition is destroyed
11. THE WAR ON THE REBATE
  Rockefeller's silence
  Belief in the oil regions that combined opposition to him was useless
  Individual opposition still conspicuous
  "The Standard's suit against Scofield, Shurmer and Teagle"
  Seeks to enforce an agreement with that firm to limit output of refined oil
  "Scofield, Shurmer and Teagle attempt to do business independently of the Standard and its rebates"
  Find their lot hard
  They sue the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway for discriminating against them
  A famous case and one the railway loses
  Another case in this war of individuals on the rebate shows the Standard still to be taking drawbacks
  The case of George Rice against the Receiver of the Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad
12. THE BUFFALO CASE
  The Standard buys three-fourths of the Vacuum Oil Works of Rochester
  Two Vacuum employees establish Buffalo Lubricating Oil Company and take with them an experienced Stillman from the Vacuum
  The Buffalo Lubricating Oil Company has an explosion and the Stillman suddenly leaves
  The Buffalo Lubricating Oil Company is sued by Vacuum for infringement of patents
  Matthews sues the Everests of the Vacuum for deliberately trying to ruin his business
  Matthews wins his first civil suit
  "He files a second suit for damages, and secures the indictment of several Standard officials for criminal conspiracy"
  "Rogers, Archbold and McGregor acquitted"
  The Everests fined
13. THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY AND POLITICS
  Oil men charged Standard with intrenching itself in state and national politics
  Election of Payne to Senate in Ohio in 1884 claimed to establish charge of bribery
  Full investigation of Payne's election denied by United States Senate Committee on Elections
  Payne himself does not demand investigation
  Popular feeling against Standard is aggravated
  The Billingsley Bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature
  A force bill directed against the Standard
  Oil men fight hard for it
  The bill is defeated
  Standard charged with using money against it
  A growing demand for full knowledge of the Standard a result of these specific cases
14. THE BREAKING UP OF THE TRUST
  Epidemic of trust investigation in 1888
  Standard investigated by New York State Senate
  Rockefeller's remarkable testimony
  Inquiry into the nature of the mysterious Standard Oil Trust
  Original Standard Oil Trust agreement revealed
  Investigation of the Standard by Congress in 1888
  As a result of the uncovering of the Standard Oil Trust agreement Attorney-General Watson of Ohio begins an action in quo warranto against the trust
  Marcus A. Hanna and others try to persuade Watson not to press the suit
  Watson persists
  Court finally decides against Standard and trust is forced to make an apparent dissolution
15. A MODERN WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE
  Producers' Protective Association formed
  A secret independent organization intended to handle its own oil
  Agreement made with Standard to cut down production
  Results of agreements not as beneficial to producers as expected
  "Producers proceed to organise Producers' Oil Company, limited"
  Independent refiners agree to support movement
  Producers and refiners' company formed
  "Lewis Emery, Jr.'s, fight for Seaboard Pipe-line"
  The United States Pipe line
  Standard's desperate opposition
  Independent refiners almost worn out
  They are relieved by formation of Pure Oil Company
  Pure Oil Company finally becomes head of Independent Consolidation
  "Independence possible, but competition not restored"
16. THE PRICE OF OIL
  Earliest designs for consolidation include plans to hold up the price of oil
  South Improvement Company so intends
  Combination of 1872-1873 makes oil dear
  Scheme fails and prices drop
  The Standard's great profits in 1876-1877 through its second successful consolidation
  Return of competition and lower prices
  Standard's futile attempt in 1880 to repeat raid of 1876-1877
  Standard is convinced that making oil too dear weakens markets and stimulates competition
  Great profits of 1879-1889
  Lowering of the margin on export since 1889 by reason of competition
  Manipulation of domestic prices even more marked
  Home consumers pay cost of Standard's fights in foreign lands
  Standard's various prices for the same goods at home
  High prices where there is no competition and low prices where there is competition
17. THE LEGITIMATE GREATNESS OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY
  Centralisation of authority
  Rockefeller and eight other trustees managing things like partners in a business
  Newsgathering organization for collecting all information of value to the trustees
  Rockefeller gets picked men for every post and contrives to make them compete with each other
  Plants wisely located
  The smallest details in expense looked out for
  Quick adaptability to new conditions as they arise
  Economy introduced by the manufacture of supplies
  A profit paid to nobody
  Profitable extension of products and by-products
  A general capacity for seeing big things and enough daring to lay hold of them
18. CONCLUSION
  Contempt proceedings begun against the Standard in Ohio in 1897 for not obeying the courts order of 1892 to dissolve the trust
  Suits begun to oust four of the Standard's constituent companies for violation of Ohio anti-trust laws
  All suits dropped because of expirationof Attorney-General Monnett's term
  Standard persuaded that its only corporate refuge is New Jersey
  "Capital of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey increased, and all Standard Oil business taken into new organisation "
  Restriction of New Jersey law small
  Profits are great and Standard's control of oil business is almost absolute
  Standard Oil Company essentially a realisation of the South Improvement Company's plans
  "The crucial question now, as always, is a transportation question"
  The trust question will go unsolved so long as the transportation question goes unsolved
  The ethical questions involved

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