Monopolizing the kerosene market during the civil war, John D.Rockefeller grabbed up the oil refineries like a marauding lion. Then when the big gas eating cars came along a few years later he was able to turn Standard oil into the biggest corporation in the world. Standard oil was described in 1880 as the most cruel, impudent, pitiless, grasping monopoly that ever latched onto a country. Ida Tarbell exposed Rockefeller’s crooked dealings in her 1904 book, The History of Standard Oil Company.

Rockefeller hired a public relations agent who advised him in order to save his reputation to give some of his money away. Rockefeller had plenty to give. He had more money than anyone in the world who had accumulated his own wealth. During the next thirty years of his life he watered many worthy causes with donations. He financed a black womans college in Atlanta and named it Spellman after his in-laws. His school board helped pay for an education for blacks all over the south.

He founded the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, turned a small Baptist college into the University of Chicago, and established one of the worlds largest foundations to further medical training and the arts. And these were only some of his charities. In all Rockefeller gave away over $550 million when the country’s gross domestic product was around $34 billion. He did at the least pay back some of what he had taken.


photo via WIKIPEDIA