American History II
15 January 2015
1. Why were Americans so alarmed at the growth of big business as described in Chapter 17? Consider that no other western country made antitrust a major issue. What were the implications of big business for American individualism? American concepts of equality? American democracy? The forces leading to economic concentration in industry (thus leading to monopoly). What were Americans reactions to big business as well as the different approaches taken by various reformers and critics of big business, including government attempts to regulate business. What might I mean, “with rapid industrialization came rapid urbanization”? Describe some of the problems associated with the growth of large urban centers.
As the business industry boomed and fewer people controlled them, many people changed their views on the role of the government in economic and social affairs. The majority of the people believed in laissez-faire. People did not like the big gap between the rich and the poor in America. Most Americans disliked powerful governments and strict regulations of the economy. The growth of huge industrial and financial organizations and the increasing complexity of economic relations scared people but at the same time they were greedy for more goods and services. Powerful businesses were looked at as a threat to society. If one company rules the entire trade it could raise its prices because it has no competition. It was the monopolists influence that worried people the most. They did not want big businesses having more “say” in the government. As the monopolists were continuously criticized, they rose to their own defense. Rockefeller stated that he wanted to improve the process of refining oil so that it could be sold and made cheaper (Carnes 473). The first political action because of big businesses was first dealt with by the State and only dealt with the railroads. It wasn’t until the Wabash,
Cited: Carnes, Mark C., and John A. Garraty. The American Nation. 14th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2012. Print. W.H.L. “The Genius of the Common Law by Frederick Pollock.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review and American Law Register 60.9 (1912): 684. JSTOR. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.