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Nothing is impossible and out of reach if only you are ambitious enough and willing to take risks to
earn a place at the top of the game in any business. This is all proven indeed by five visionary men
who actually built America to what it is today. How did they do it?
‘The Men Who Built America’ is an epic documentary focusing on the lives five renowned men:
Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P Morgan and Henry Ford who
revolutionized America in ways that may have seemed impossible especially in the 19 th century.
They were self-made businessmen who grasped every opportunity they had to become the
wealthiest and most influential men in America. They were an interesting small group linked in
history by rivalry and lust to be more powerful than the other.

John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller (founder of the
Standard Oil Company)
An Entrepreneur, CEO born on July 8, 1839 at Richford, New York United states known as John Davison

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is
widely considered the wealthiest American of all time and the richest person in modern history.

Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York that moved several times before
eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at age 16
and went into several business partnerships beginning at age 20, concentrating his business on
oil refining.

John D. Rockefeller had similar character traits to Vanderbilt, ambitious, hardworking, strategic,
innovative and ready to wipe out anyone who threatened his success. He was also a staunch
Christian but I believe that the business world then had little room for Christian virtues based on his
decisions and actions. What stood out for me was the way his mind worked.

Cleveland is sitting on top of one of the largest oil fields in the world. John D. Rockefeller is the
man Vanderbilt decides to pick from obscurity. At the age of 27 Rockefeller is just getting
started with his refinery business, but it is failing. Vanderbilt invites Rockefeller to meet with
him, which for Rockefeller is the opportunity of a lifetime.
He becomes fixated on finding a big idea and taking a chance. He realizes that oil has the
potential to change the world and make him rich. He didn’t like how inefficiently oil was
obtained. Whoever could control the refining process could control the industry. The deal with
Vanderbilt gave him cheap shipping rates and control of the market. He needs investors, but
kerosene has a bad name, since the high demand caused refiners to ship highly volatile
kerosene. Rockefeller saw that the fears of the public needed to be calmed. Rockefeller’s
standard Oil becomes the most demanded kerosene in the country.

Rockefeller can supply every home in America with Kerosene. Rockefeller bought out all of his
competitors and he wanted to own all of the oil refineries. He was looking to expand his
company and maximize his profit. By the time he was finished, Rockefeller controlled 90% of
America’s Oil supply
Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He ran it until 1897, and
remained its largest shareholder.
In 1870, Rockefeller created Standard Oil. Rockefeller began to buy up inefficient refineries and
closed those that were too expensive to renovate and improved those that showed promise.
When railroads proved inefficient for his needs, he built a pipeline from the oil field to the
refinery. By 1879, Rockefeller and Standard Oil controlled 90% of the refining capacity in the
United States. In 1882,

Rockefeller combined his many companies into the Standard Oil Trust. The trust enabled
Standard Oil to monopolize all aspects of the oil industry from production to marketing. With a
monopoly or trust, the competition has been eliminated in the market. No competition means
a business owner can set any price they want for the goods they are selling. A monopoly or
trust is good for the business owner but harmful to consumers who pay higher prices.

Mr. Rockefeller's benefactions from 1855 to 1934 totaled $530,853,632, of which the greater
amount went to the four great foundations he established for the purpose of handling his

Did you know? One of the charitable organizations established by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was
the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission, founded in 1909. Less than 20 years after its creation, the
Commission had achieved its primary goals, the successful eradication of hookworm disease
across the southern United States,

Rockefeller's wealth soared as kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, and he became the richest
person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. Oil was used throughout
the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity, and as a fuel after the invention of the
automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry which
transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United
States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and, through corporate and technological
innovations, was instrumental in both widely disseminating and drastically reducing the production cost
of oil.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled for violation of federal antitrust
laws. It was broken up into 34 separate entities, which included companies that became ExxonMobil,
Chevron Corporation, and others—some of which still have the highest level of revenue in the world.
Individual pieces of the company were worth more than the whole, as shares of these doubled and
tripled in value in their early years; consequently, Rockefeller became the country's first billionaire, with
a fortune worth nearly 2% of the national economyHis peak net worth was estimated at US$409 billion
(in 2018 dollars; inflation-adjusted) in 1913. The 409 billion figure assumes a 2% share of US GDP in
2016. His personal wealth, 900 million in 1913, more than 2% of US GDP of 39.1 billion that year[10] was
worth 21 billion dollars in 2016 adjusted for inflation (by 1937 the Rockefeller fortune was 1.4 billion or
1.5% of GDP of 92 billion

At that time, the Federal government was subsidizing oil prices, driving the price up from $.35 a barrel in
1862 to as high as $13.75.[45] This created an oil-drilling glut, with thousands of speculators attempting
to make their fortunes. Most failed, but those who struck oil did not even need to be efficient. They
would blow holes in the ground and gather up the oil as they could, often leading to creeks and rivers
flowing with wasted oil in the place of water.[46]

Standard Oil
In 1870, Rockefeller and his associates incorporated the Standard Oil Company, which immediately
prospered, thanks to favorable economic/industry conditions and Rockefeller’s drive to streamline the
company’s operations and keep margins high. With success came acquisitions, as Standard began buying
out its competitors.

Standard’s moves were so quick and sweeping that it controlled the majority of refineries in the
Cleveland area within two years. Standard then used its size and ubiquity in the region to make
favorable deals with railroads to ship its oil. At the same time, Standard got into the business itself with
the purchase of pipelines and terminals, setting up a system of transport for its own products.
Controlling (or owning) almost every aspect the business, Standard’s grip on the industry tightened, and
it even bought thousands of acres of forest for lumber and drilling and to block competitors from
running their own pipelines.

John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), founder of the Standard Oil Company, became one of the world’s
wealthiest men and a major philanthropist. Born into modest circumstances in upstate New York, he
entered the then-fledgling oil business in 1863 by investing in a Cleveland, Ohio refinery. In 1870, he
established Standard Oil, which by the early 1880s controlled some 90 percent of U.S. refineries and
pipelines. Critics accused Rockefeller of engaging in unethical practices, such as predatory pricing and
colluding with railroads to eliminate his competitors in order to gain a monopoly in the industry. In
1911, the U.S. Supreme Court found Standard Oil in violation of anti-trust laws and ordered it to
dissolve. During his life Rockefeller donated more than $500 million to various philanthropic causes.

To increase the financial gain from the business, Rockefeller eliminated middlemen like purchasing
agents and wholesalers. He began manufacturing the barrels and cans needed to store the company’s
oil. Rockefeller also developed plants that produced petroleum byproducts like petroleum jelly, machine
lubricants, chemical cleaners, and paraffin wax.
Rockefeller is largely remembered simply for the raw size of his wealth. In 1902, an audit showed
Rockefeller was worth about $200 million—compared to the total national GDP of $24 billion then

His wealth continued to grow significantly (in line with U.S. economic growth) as the demand for
gasoline soared, eventually reaching about $900 million on the eve of the First World War, including
significant interests in banking, shipping, mining, railroads, and other industries. His personal wealth was
900 million in 1913 worth 21 billion dollars adjusted for inflation in 2016.[141] According to his New
York Times obituary, "it was estimated after Mr. Rockefeller retired from business that he had
accumulated close to $1,500,000,000 out of the earnings of the Standard Oil trust and out of his other
investments. This was probably the greatest amount of wealth that any private citizen had ever been
able to accumulate by his own efforts."[142] By the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller's remaining
fortune, largely tied up in permanent family trusts, was estimated at $1.4 billion, while the total national
GDP was $92 billion.[4] According to some methods of wealth calculation, Rockefeller's net worth over
the last decades of his life would easily place him as the wealthiest known person in recent history. As a
percentage of the United States' GDP, no other American fortune—including those of Bill Gates or Sam
Walton—would even come close.Net Worth: $340 Billion

He always found a way to stay ahead of his competition especially through his
innovations: transporting oil through pipes and finding use for gasoline which was
considered a waste. He overtook Vanderbilt to be the richest man in America. He
was flexible, not limiting himself to working with only some people or with only
one product. I think this is very important for any business person.

Rockefeller passed away on May 23, 1937, in Ormond Beach, Florida. His legacy,
however, lives on: Rockefeller is considered one of America's leading
businessmen and is credited for helping to shape the U.S. into what it is today.