John D. Rockefeller was the guiding force behind the creation of the Standard Oil Company, which grew to dominate the oil industry. This company was one of the first big trusts in the United States, thus much controversy and opposition arose regarding business strategies and its organization. John D. Rockefeller was also one of the United States first major philanthropists, establishing numerous important foundations and donating close to $600 million to various charities.An ongoing debate remains as to whether John D. Rockefeller was a “robber baron” or a “captain of industry”. Rockefeller was highly criticized for his success and the means by which he attained it.Later some owners who had been bought out complained to the press that they had been treated unfairly. In the Affidavit of George O. Baslington, he argues that his company “could not make money; that there was no use for them to attempt to do business in competition with the Standard Oil Company” However, he failed to mention that he was given the option of being paid for his refinery, rather than falling to bankruptcy. Baslington had the opportunity to study the business and take the same steps as Rockefeller had to make his refinery more efficient. The evidence is overwhelming that the Standard’s rivals were paid fair, even generous, prices for their property and if they had the wisdom to take Standard Oil stock, they ended up very rich indeed. Rockefeller’s response to those who criticized his success was, “That a great prejudice exists against all successful business enterprise-the more successful, the greater the prejudice.”By 1882 The Standard Oil Company had become the most efficient corporation, producing the highest quality products as well as charging the lowest prices. Rockefeller was philanthropic in his endeavors, incorporating his acquired companies into the ever enlarging Standard Oil. The Standard Oil Company helped to strengthen the American economy, created jobs, and was one of the leaders in making the United States the industrial giant that it is today.
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