One of the most notorious monopolies in American history was that of the Standard Oil Company, which was founded 150 years ago today.
From 1870 to 1911 it was the industrial empire of John D. Rockefeller, whose pathological hunger for money and power fuelled his quest to take almost full control over all oil production, processing, marketing, and transportation in the United States of America — and that’s the just the tip of the iceberg.
Some would describe John D. as an American fixture, others as the embodiment of the American dream, while others would say he was the antithesis of ethics and morality, and the problem with capitalism. All are probably correct to a certain degree.
But no matter what the moniker, he is definitely one of the most intriguing Americans who ever lived.
A Brief History of John D. Rockefeller
Born in Richford, NY, in July of 1839 to a professional con-artist named William Avery “Devil Bill” Rockefeller — a man who impersonated a physician while riding a wagon from town to town peddling “miracle” elixirs — John Davison Rockefeller, famously known as John D., would grow to apply his father’s deceptive tactics to big business and become the single richest man in American history.
With a local reputation for his talents in numbers, at the age of only 16 he received his first job working as a bookkeeper for a produce commission firm called Hewitt & Tuttle. He was paid 50 cents a day, which wasn’t bad back then, but the lessons he learned in this position, coupled with the lessons instilled by his father on how to be an unscrupulous cheat, would prove invaluable.
A few years later, he received a thousand swindled dollars in the form of a loan from his father — Devil Bill — to start his own commodities trading company with a partner named Maurice B. Clark. Here, at only twenty-years-old, he ran a company that did exactly what he was doing at Hewitt and Turtle, only now he was in complete control. At first Clark and Rockefeller dealt specifically with foodstuffs, and did quite well, but after a few short years it became clear to John D. where his fortune could be made.
At that time in America, men were suddenly making millions over night in the booming industry of oil production, and Rockefeller wanted in on the action. Not the type to take part in the dangerous job of wildcatting — clearing trees and drilling — he took another route into the exploding trade and built a refinery in 1863. The genius here was that he built it right next to the train tracks in Cleveland’s prospering industrial district, cutting down on transportation costs almost absolutely. Taking on chemist Samuel Andrews, Clark and a few of Clark’s brothers to the project, the company flourished. Everyone was happy. But it didn’t last too long. Two years into their success, Rockefeller concoted a sheme that led to him sneakily buying out Clark and the others at auction for just under $75,000, cutting his partners out of the business.
With a true hustler’s spirit, for the next five years Rockefeller sold enormous amounts of kerosene across the country while making invaluable connections in the banking world. As a result, by 1870 he’d already become the top oil refiner in Ohio. Taking out massive loans that year he founded what would become his and his family’s legacy: Standard Oil.
With a massive fortune now in his coffers, Rockefeller walked further in his father’s footsteps and really began scheming. First he began methodically buying up all the small, independent oil producers he could find just to put them out of business, and if any refused to sell he would manipulate the situation so they had no choice. His methods included buying up all the chemicals used in the refining process that were available, making it impossible for their company to remain in operation; undercutting all competitors’ prices; making secret deals with companies; or simply showing his competitors his ever-growing books so they could see what they were up against, and telling them he had no problem burning dollars to stall their operations long enough to hammer them into bankruptcy, at which point he would buy up their assets for pennies on the dollar. The few who didn’t sell to him got exactly that. What was theirs ended up his.
In 1871 Rockefeller struck up a secret deal with a railroad tycoon — another raging cutthroat industry at the time — named Thomas A. Scott, president of Pennsylvania Railroad. Together they rigged the game so bad that it was literally impossible to compete with Standard Oil and its affiliates. An organization called The South Improvement Company was created through which major rebates were given to Rockefeller’s freight as it moved throughout the country, while competitors fees skyrocketed. The hot word of the day was “conspiracy.”
These criminal actions were soon exposed when documents of signed negotiations between Standard Oil, The Pennsylvania Railroad, the Erie Railroad, and the New York Central came to light. The conspiracy theorists were right. Extreme vandalism, threats, and violent protests by independent oil producers and their supporters broke out and nearly escalated into mass casualties as an episode in American history known as The Oil War played out. When the violence died down in 1872, it was because the railroads were forced to bring the prices back to normal, but this didn’t lessen John D. Rockefeller’s pull with railroads one bit. Competitors’ freights would magically disappear regularly.
By New Years 1876, Standard Oil was responsible for refining over 90% of America’s oil.
But even this wasn’t enough.
In his true nature, Rockefeller then hatched a scheme to go over his silent partners in the railroads’ heads by building a system of pipelines underneath the ground in the United States to transport and disperse his oil, completely cutting the railroads out of transporting one of their most conveyed items. In an effort to strike back against Standard Oil, the Pennsylvania Railroad created a subsidiary company and began buying up and building as many oil refineries as possible.
Unwavering, John D. began striking up secret deals with rivalling railroads, bribing them to mark down their prices drastically, and giving rise to a massive railroad price war; while at the same time withholding vast shipments of oil from his enemy railroads and basically holding the country at ransom by interrupting so many jobs, unions, workers, and people’s basic oil, gas, and kerosene needs. Hemorrhaging funds, this move won Rockefeller the war and all the oil companies the railroad acquired were sold to Standard Oil. At this same time, because of his obvious price controlling and monopolizing of the oil industry, public outcry forced the authorities to pounce on Rockefeller. Just as he finished buying up his last refinery from the railroads, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania indicted him for illegal business practices. But Rockefeller was rich and connected. Nothing would come of it.
However, many states enforced new laws because of Rockefeller’s practices, deeming it illegal to have a company incorporated in one state which operates in another. In response, he quickly started opening a different corporation in each state, centralizing his holdings in 1882 by starting the Standard Oil Trust, where he and eight other filthy rich men oversaw the 41 separate companies within the trust. This same decade John D. also expanded his interests internationally, getting bankrolled by such Europeans as the Rothschild family to build refineries in Russia, Africa, and parts of Asia, while at the same time keeping with the rapidly changing times and expanding much more into natural gas just as the light bulb briskly replaced kerosene lamps. Fossil fuels, it seemed, no matter where in the world, were now Rockefeller’s property.
Outgrowing Ohio, in 1884 Rockefeller moved himself and his central office to Manhattan. Standard Oil found its residence at 26 Broadway while Rockefeller himself moved into a mansion on 54th Street, right next door to Anderson Cooper’s plutocrat grandfather William Henry Vanderbilt.
This whole time — by the mid 1880’s — Congress and state governments were still scrambling to put an end to Standard Oil Trust’s monopoly, but to their dismay, Rockefeller seemed invincible. Finally in 1892, as Rockefeller was buying up steel companies in a war with Andrew Carnegie to monopolise that market’s resource, acts of Congress were passed — specifically the Sherman Antitrust Act — and the Standard Oil Trust was broken apart. Still though, Rockefeller’s oil profits continued booming, and his investments into the iron market were paying off incredibly. He eventually traded those iron shares for U.S Steel, Carnegie’s cash cow.
A decade later — 1902 — John D. Rockefeller called it quits to live off his investments, which made him $58,000,000 his first year. Again, that wasn’t enough.
When New Jersey changed its laws to suit the circumstances the Standard Oil Trust operated under decades before, John D. came out of retirement and founded the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey as a single holding company, taking his seat back as president, this time over 70% of the American oil industry. His cartel was back in commission. Two years later it took the Supreme Court of the United States to break the syndicate up again, this time into 34 separate companies — such as BP, Amoco, Chevron, Continental Oil, Standard of Ohio, and Esso, which became Exxon and then Exxon Mobil. As John D. kept large amounts of shares in each new entity — each of which grew in business by leaps and bounds with the coming world war and the introduction of mass automobile production — over the next 10 years, on his oil holdings alone, Rockefeller made over $900,000,000! This would be worth at least a trillion in today’s dollars. This, obviously, made him the richest man in American history.
This, of course, still wasn’t enough. He wanted control of society itself. Under the guise of philanthropy, Rockefeller began to birth new foundations rivaling government institutions. One such target was the education system — integral in controlling a population — through his General Education Board founded in 1903, in which class-system encouragement through social grooming and specialized technical education took hold, replacing the worldly, scientific, artistic and scholarship oriented system taught beforehand. The agenda was to build American public school children into adults that were smart enough to do specialized jobs and stupid enough to never question their masters groomed in the social classes above them. Bought and paid for friends in government and other high places played a crucial role in this venture, and eventually the GEB system was mandated all over the western world. To bring this point home, here is John D.’s mission statement for the GEB:
“In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science.
We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”–John D. Rockefeller, General Education Board (1906).
By 1910 another fund was set up to supplement the GEB called The Rockefeller Foundation. After four years of crafty work and millions of dollars given to the right men, John D. managed to sway the New York State Legislature to pass a charter on May 14th, 1914, incorporating the Rockefeller Foundation and giving it the authority and power it needed to completely rewrite the American education and medical systems. This passing of the Rockefeller charter also marked the launching of the American Medical Association, which would be overseen by the foundation’s small board of trustees, including its president, John D. Rockefeller. Now in control of the American medical and educational establishments, he’d far surpassed the goals he could have made for himself so long before when taking that thousand dollar loan from his father, Devil Bill, who roamed the countryside selling liquid petroleum to halfwits as a cancer remedy.
The medical foundation sunk hundreds of millions of dollars right off the bat into obliterating any “natural” remedy available on the market, and instead promoted — through means of government, education, and media — a strictly chemical based medical structure; the one we’re still using. Rockefeller had bought up and paid off scientists to push biased papers that promoted the sale of the chemical-stew-type drugs that still dominate our pharmacies today.
“Financed by the taxpayers, these Drug Trust persecutions leave no stone unturned to destroy the victim…. In one case, a Dr. Adolphus Hohensee… who had stated that vitamins (he used natural ones) were vital to good health, was taken to court for ‘misbranding’ his product. The American Medical Association furnished ten medicos [paid off doctors] who reversed all known medical theories by testifying that ‘vitamins are not necessary to the human body.’”–Morris Bealle, The Drug Story, 1942.
Like his parents, who had over 5 children, and his psychotic swindler father’s family, who had 10 children, John D. had a litter of his own in his lifetime — four girls, one of whom died just after her first birthday, and a son, John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.
John Jr. would take over the family business, taking it heavily into banking and starting financial super-giant Chase Manhattan Bank. By the time John D. Sr. died in 1937, at the age of 98, the family’s money and assets consisted within hundreds of different foundations and institutes which held onto an unknown, but incredibly vast share of American, as well as international, power and wealth.
Sons of John Jr., Nelson Rockefeller, who died in 1979, and most recent family kingpin, David Rockefeller, who died in 2017, carried on their father’s and grandfather’s ambitions of world domination through the same tactics laid out by John D., and ethics of Devil Bill. They have methodically funded ventures into controlling almost every social establishment known to man, and that is no exaggeration. Most of what they do remains in the darkness of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bohemian Grove, the Trilateral Commission, and Bilderberg Group meetings with the heads of state from countries around the world, always under terms of secrecy, though the outcomes of their decisions always make themselves visible not long after those annual and biannual meetings adjourn; to those perceptive enough to look. The reality of how much influence the Rockefeller’s have on everyday life is staggering, and the foundations they run and fund is a testament to this:
- American Assembly
- American Association for the United Nations
- American Friends Service Committee
- Atlantic Union
- Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science
- Center of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
- Citizens Committee for International Development
- Committees on Foreign Relations
- Committee for Economic Development
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Federation of World Governments
- Foreign Policy Association
- Institute of International Education
- Institute for World Order
- National Planning Association US National Commission
- The Trilateral Commission World Affairs Council
- United World Federalists
That’s just to name a few. According to RockefellerFoundation.com, the House of Rockefeller funds over 3000 organizations across an extensive spectrum of social initiatives.
When people say they run the world it’s because to a certain degree, they do. The initiatives they’ve spearheaded have made up the much of the society we live in today, and based on their consistent past behavior, the Rockefeller’s will never have enough to be satisfied. They have it all and want more, and as history has documented over and over, they’ll get it any way they can, no matter who they have to crush in the process. It all started 150 years ago today with Standard Oil, brainchild of John D. Rockefeller — the definition of the American dream in all its horror.
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