The Rise of American Industrial and Financial Corporations

Elizabeth A. Laughlin '14, Gettysburg College


This paper identifies and analyzes the steps the United States took in its progression to an industrial nation. Launched by the merger movement in the late nineteenth century, vertical and horizontal integration lead to trusts and monopolies in a number of industries. Simultaneously, the labor market was undergoing a number of reforms with the deskilling of workers. The rise of big business was made possible through the growth of the financial sectors and companies such as J.P Morgan. The case study of The Standard Oil Co. highlights the wealth and power that robber barons such as J.D. Rockefeller held during this time period and its continuing affects, including a widening of the distribution of wealth and inequality.