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Big Business

http://. www.history.com/shows/men-who-built-america/videos/the-men-who-built-america-traits-of-a-titan. A Brassy, Flamboyant Age. The Gilded Age, the period between the end of Radical Reconstruction (1877).

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Big Business

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Big BusinessSlide2



A Brassy, Flamboyant Age

The Gilded Age, the period between the end of Radical Reconstruction (1877)

and the beginning of the Progressive Era (1901), was

a brassy, flamboyant age dominated by big business values, political corruption, and extremes of wealth and poverty

. During the Gilded Age, the United States changed from a predominantly rural agrarian nation to an urban industrial one.Slide4

From Agriculture to IndustrySlide5

The Way We Were in  The Gilded Age: 1877-1901

Who We Were

How We Lived







Population (millions)




Gallon of milk

$0.16$0.17$0.30Pop. per sq. mile16.921.225.6Loaf of bread$0.02$0.02$0.03Percent rural71.8%64.9%60.4%New autoN/AN/A$500Percent urban28.2%35.1%39.6%Gallon of gasN/AN/A$0.05Percent native born94.4%87.1%84.4%New house$4,500$5,800$4,000Percent immigrant5.6%12.9%15.6%Average income$480$660$637


The Role of Corporations



an organization owned by many people but treated by law as though it were a single person.


people who own the corporation because they own shares of ownership called stock. This raises large amounts of money for big projects while spreading out financial risk. Slide7

The Role of Corporations

By the 1830s, states began passing general incorporation laws, allowing companies to become corporations and issue stocks.

With money raised from selling stock, corporations would invest in new technologies, hire a large workforce, and purchase many machines.

This greatly hurt small businesses with high operating costs—forcing many out of business.

Corporations were criticized for cutting prices and negotiating rebates. Slide8



Andrew Carnegie

Scottish immigrant who started small and became the owner of a steel company in Pittsburg.


vertical integration

- owns all of the different businesses on which it depends for its operation.

Ex) Instead of buying coal from a company, Carnegie bought the actual coal mine. Slide10

Vertical Integration Slide11

The Consolidation of Industry

Business leaders also pushed for

horizontal integration

- combining many firms engaged in the same type of business into one, large corporation.

This happened often and when a company began to lose market share, it would sell to its competitors and create a large organization. Slide12

Horizontal IntegrationSlide13



John D. Rockefeller

U.S. industrialist who made a fortune in the oil business.

By 1880, Standard Oil controlled almost 90% of the oil refining industry in the U.S.

When a single company achieves control of an entire market, this is called a

monopoly. Slide15

The Consolidation of Industry

By the late 1800s, Americans grew suspicious of large corporations and monopolies.

To preserve competition, many states made it illegal for one company to own stock in another without permission from state legislature. Slide16


To preserve competition, many states made it illegal for one company to own stock in another without permission from state legislature.


1882 Standard Oil formed the first trust—a new way of merging businesses without violating the law of owning other companies.


: a legal concept that allows one person to manage another person’s property (called a trustee). Ex) Standard Oil trustees were able to control a group of companies as if they were one large merged company. Slide17

Alexander Graham Bell

Scottish inventor.

He invented

the harmonic telegraph, an instrument that makes it possible to send multiple telegraphs on one line



Thomas Edison

American inventor.

He is credited for holding 1,093 patents


Best known for perfecting the incandescent light bulb.Slide19

Cornelius Vanderbilt

American Railroad baron.



 important or powerful 

person in a specified business or industryWealthiest man in the United States during the nineteenth century. Self-made man.Name sake of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.Slide20

Robber Barons

Don’t write all of this.

The great wealth many railroad entrepreneurs acquired in the late 1800s led to accusations that they built their fortunes by swindling investors and taxpayers, bribing government officials, and cheating on their contracts and debts.

Corruption in the railroad industry became public and created the impression that all railroad entrepreneurs were

“robber barons.”Slide21

Captains of Industry or Robber Barons?



: people who loot an industry and give nothing back.

By 1900, big business dominated the economy, operating vast complexes of factories, warehouses, offices, and distribution facilities. Slide22

J.P. Morgan


business leader, financier and banker.

He was criticized for creating monopolies by making it difficult for any business to compete against his. 

Morgan dominated two industries in particular

He helped consolidate railroad industry in the East. Formed the United States Steel Corporation in 1901.Slide23