John D. Rockefeller

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John D. Rockefeller, born on July 8, 1839, has had a huge impact on the course of American history, his reputation spans from being a ruthless businessperson to a thoughtful philanthropist (Tarbell 41). He came from a family with not much and lived the American dream, rising to success through his own wit and cunning, riding on the backs of none. His legacy is huge, amassing the greatest private wealth of any American in history. Rockefeller’s influence on our country has been both a positive and a negative one, he donated huge sums of money to various public institutions and revolutionized the petroleum industry. Along with all the positives to the country, Rockefeller also had many negative affects as well, including, by gaining his riches by means of a monopoly, often using illegal methods, by giving others a reason to frown upon capitalism, and by hurting smaller businesses. The first positive affect of John D. Rockefeller was his donations of large sums of money to public institutions. During his lifetime, Rockefeller gave away 540 million dollars (Sicilia 2006). Almost all of his philanthropies occurred after his retirement from Standard Oil. Donations varied from colleges, to churches, to hospitals. With the help of his son and Frederick Gates, the man Rockefeller put in charge of his philanthropies, he was able to help improve the lives of many (Poole 2000). Rockefeller stayed loyal to his religion throughout his entire life, not forgetting where he came from and how it helped him. Raised as a Baptist from birth, religion always played a large role in Rockefeller’s life and was a part of his upbringing. From the very start of Rockefeller’s working life, he tithed ten percent of his earnings to his church. Later on his church became affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention which had a mission to form grade-schools and colleges for former slaves after the Civil War (Poole 2000). Once Rockefeller started to really take off and began making a lot of...
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