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Rise of Big Business in the Late 1800s. DEVELOPMENT OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. Corporations had been used prior to the Civil War to raise capital through the sale of stock to invest in large business ventures.

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Rise of Big Business in the Late 1800s

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development of business and industry
  • Corporations had been used prior to the Civil War to raise capital through the sale of stock to invest in large business ventures.
  • Corporations did not “rise” during the late 19th century they became more powerful as they grew through monopolies and mergers.
  • This led to a greater influence on the economy, politics, and government policy
factors of production
Factors of Production
  • Land
  • Labor
  • Capital
  • Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
new business culture
New Business Culture
  • Laissez Fairethe ideology of the Industrial Age.
  • Individual as a moral and economic ideal.
  • Individuals should compete freely in the marketplace.
  • The market was not man-made or invented.
  • No room for government in the market!
2 social darwinism
2.Social Darwinism
  • British economist.
  • Advocate of laissez-faire.
  • Adapted Darwin’s ideas from the “Origin of Species” to humans.
  • Notion of “Survival of the Fittest.”

Herbert Spencer

2 social darwinism in america
2.Social Darwinism in America
  • Individuals must have absolute freedom to struggle, succeed or fail.
  • Therefore, state intervention to reward society and the economy is futile!

William Graham SumnerFolkways (1906)

new business culture the american dream
New Business Culture:“The American Dream?”
  • Protestant (Puritan) “Work Ethic”
      • Horatio Alger [100+ novels]

Is the idea of the “self-made man” a MYTH??

  • Railroads were the economic engine that drove the economy.
  • Transcontinental Railroad helped

unite the country and promote

economic growth and the

development of a national market.

  • Created a need for steel rails,

wooden railroad ties, railroad cars

and transportation for goods

  • This contributed to the growth of the steel, lumber, coal, and meatpacking industries
  • Railroad also brought new settlers through advertising, land sales, and provided farmers access to markets.
  • Most famous of the transcontinental routes was the Transcontinental Railroad built in 1869 uniting East with West.
  • People who organize, operate, and assume the risk for a business venture
  • Used new technologies and new business tactics to create large corporations
    • Trusts John D. Rockefeller
      • Standard Oil
new type of business entities
New Type of Business Entities


  • Horizontal Integration John D. Rockefeller
  • Vertical Integration:
    • Gustavus Swift  Meat-packing
    • Andrew Carnegie  U. S. Steel
horizontal integration
  • Used by Rockefeller and Standard Oil to create a monopoly.
  • In this business tactic a company buys up those companies that compete with it so that it controls the market and can charge whatever it wants

Company A

Company B

Company C


vertical integration
Vertical Integration
  • Used by Andrew Carnegie in the steel industry
  • This tactic involves buying all the businesses involved in the production of your product
  • The point is that you never have to buy raw materials from anyone else and it saves money

Steel mill



new financial businessman
New Financial Businessman

The Broker:

  • J. Pierpont Morgan
cornelius commodore vanderbilt
Cornelius [“Commodore”] Vanderbilt

Can’t I do what I want with my money?

robber barons
Robber Barons
  • The men who controlled these large industries
  • Rockefeller forced railroads to give him kickbacks and rebates
  • Carnegie controlled the steel industry
  • They had contacts in government and were able to get government to leave them alone
  • They got this name because of their crooked cutthroat tactics
  • This term soon was used to identify any wealthy entrepreneur no matter what industry they were in.
laizzez faire
  • Concept that government should keep its hands off the economy (business) and let it regulate itself
  • Based on Charles Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest or SOCIAL DARWINISM
  • The basic idea is that those businesses that survive do so because they are the strongest. Those that do not survive die because they are weak.
  • Government aided these businesses through protective tariffs.
captains of industry
  • The industrialists regarded themselves as captains of industry.
  • Carnegie was also a philanthropist. (someone who gives money to public/charitable causes)
  • According to his “Gospel of Wealth” he believed it was the responsibility of the wealthy to make sure their money was put to good use serving others, rather than being spent on frivolous pursuits
the gospel of wealth religion in the era of industrialization
The Gospel of Wealth:Religion in the Era of Industrialization
  • Wealth no longer looked upon as bad.
  • Viewed as a sign of God’s approval.
  • Christian duty to accumulate wealth.
  • Should not help the poor.

Russell H. Conwell

what about the rest of the country
What About the Rest of the Country?
  • Some saw the wealth enjoyed by the few as being at the expense of those who remained in poverty
  • While business leaders grew rich, the working class was left with harsh working conditions and low pay.
  • Child labor was harsh and most children had to work to help support their families.
gilded age
Gilded Age
  • This period in the late 1800s became known as the “Gilded Age”.
  • Phrase came from Mark Twain who used it to illustrate a time in which it appeared that a layer of prosperity was covering the poverty and corruption that existed in much of society.
what about the south
What About the South?
  • The South saw an increase in industrialization.
  • Whereas northern industry focused on things like oil and steel, the South focused on mass production of goods directly related to agricultural products like tobacco and cotton.
  • Textile mills boomed in the South as did the tobacco industry (American Tobacco Co. owned by the Duke family)
  • Buck Duke also went on to form the Southern Power Co. to further develop the Carolinas.
steel in the south
Steel in the South
  • Birmingham, AL became known as the “Pittsburgh of the South”
  • Had great resources of iron ore
  • Bessemer process and proximity to natural resources made it an ideal location for steel production
  • Influential leaders in the South realized that it would have to industrialize to survive and prosper in the 20th century.
cultural and economic effects of industrialization
Cultural and Economic Effects of Industrialization
  • Despite higher prices there was a rise in the standard of living
  • Inventions such as Edison’s light bulb made electricity more widely available.
  • Electric lights, vacuum cleaners, typewriters, and the telephone made it possible for women to work outside the home.
  • Mass production caused prices to drop making these conveniences available to a larger part of the population
  • Technological advances such as the electric trolley fueled the rise of a middle class and suburbs by allowing people to live further out
  • Businesses thrived also in international markets
  • As business leaders increased their profits they began to invest in other countries, eventually pulling the nation into international conflicts
government regulation
Government Regulation
  • Early attempts at government regulation of business were limited – tariffs and intervening in labor disputes on the side of business
  • 1877 Interstate Commerce Commission formed to regulate railroad rates
  • 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act – made monopolies illegal (Wasn’t really used successfully until Teddy Roosevelt attacked big business)