The War between Carnegie and Rockefeller

Judy EllenStarred Page By Judy Ellen, 9th Nov 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Ethics

Here is a brief history of these two billionaires who built America and how a war brought on by greed got started between them. The lives of many hard working Americans were destroyed in the wake of their greed.

Rockefeller and Standard oil

In 1870 Rockefeller incorporated the first oil company called Standard Oil, and, became a multi millionaire from people using his oil to light their homes. In 1890 he started exporting his oil to Japan’s 400 million people. His oil business started on the premise of conservation. He was the first to put oil to use instead of dumping it in the ocean.

Andrew Carnegie the Steel Giant

At the same time Andrew Carnegie started manufacturing steel In Pennsylvania which became America’s number one supplier of steel for the war. He made the first steel rails for the railroad, and, became the first to make a steel bridge and founded the Keystone Bridge Company which made steel bridges all over the country!

Jealousy reared its ugly head

When Andrew Carnegie read in the Newspaper that Rockefeller was the richest man in the world, he got jealous! He was not happy that he was named the Second richest man in the world. So he set out to become number one. He started manufacturing steel and put it to many uses such as making steel bridges and rails for trains to run on and steel beams for New York’s sky scrapers.

He still was not the richest man in the world so he hired Henry Clay Frick who was known for his underhanded ways when it comes to making money. Frick forced Carnegie’s steel workers to work longer hours for less pay.

From the blood and sweat of the underpaid workers production is increased! With the extra money Henry Clay Frick constructs the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club and retreat for the Wealthy! He is told by officials that constructing this retreat will weaken the dam. The weakened dam collapses on Memorial Day 1889 in which thousands of people in the valley were killed sweeping the town away. This historic event known as the Johnstown Flood leads to Frick’s down fall.

The irony of this is that a telegraph was sent to the Telegraph Office in Johnstown warning that the dam was about to collapse but this warning went unheeded because the Telegraph Office had heard this warning several times previously. They did not seem to take into account that the rain was coming down heavier than usual on this day.

The steel workers revolt against the long hours and lower pay!

They set up a union and strike. They barricade the plant to keep Frick from hiring workers to replace them. Meanwhile Carnegie stays out of the United States to keep from being blamed.

Frick hires the Pinkerton Guards to keep the workers from barricading the plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was more powerful than the American military at that time. It was an over kill effort in which many steel workers were shot and injured. The government had to call out the National Guard to restore order!

Due to public outcry regarding this event an attempt is made on Frick’s life!

This was the last straw for Carnegie so he is forced to fire Frick!

Andrew Carnegie wanted to be known as a good man with high moral values.

To make up for the bad things that Henry Clay Frick did Carnegie bought libraries, Carnegie hall and engaged in other artistic endeavors.

Carnegie and Rockefeller spend the next 10 years in rivalry until they finally head in different directions! Carnegie sets out to repair his reputation and Rockefeller tries to undermine the progress of the electric light bulb. He launches an attack on electricity trying to prove that it is dangerous.

JP Morgan a millionaire banker comes on the scene and devises a scheme to buy out Edison after Edison concedes to the first electrocution of a death row prisoner. Edison’s greed led him straight into this trap. Edison who invented DC only conceded to this death row execution because he wanted to prove that AC was dangerous. Instead, he losses everything to J.P. Morgan because the public associates him with all types of electricity, even though he was against AC (alternating currents)

Another irony is that the inventor of AC (Nicola Tesla) worked for Edison but resigned because Edison looked down on him and would not consider AC. Later this selfless inventor of AC gives his patent to his financial backer George Westinghouse to keep the company from folding. All Nikola Tesla cared about was how AC could help mankind! Yes, there were a few good men among the greedy!

Conclusion—Greed Greed and More Greed

This is what we call Raw Capitalism meaning no government restrictions in which the lives of the average hard working American were totally disregarded. When will America learn to reach a happy medium? We don’t want government interference, but, how well have we really done without any restrictions at all??

If we don’t want government interference then we must learn to control our selfishness and greed! However, mankind is not able to do that without God. Even those who profess Christianity cannot control their own greed without first submitting to God’s will. God will not force His will on us! Therefore we must learn how to be spirit controlled. This is our only hope for survival!!

The Bible has over 30 verses on the evilness of greed! Here are just a few!

Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 28:25
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

1 Timothy 6:9
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Other Wikinut related articles!

Little Trains that do Big work
History of United States Steel Industry
The Attitude of Gratitude

All pictures are in the Public Domain


Andrew Carnegie, Carnagie Hall, Carnal Christian, Edison, Greed, History Of Industrial America, Homestead Pennsylvania, Johnstown Flood, Jpmorgan, Men Who Built America, Nikola Tesla, Pennsylvania, Pinkertons, Rockefeller, Sky Scrapers, South Fork Fishing And Hunting Lodge, Steel Bridges, Steel Mills, Steel Rails, Steel Workers, Steel Workers Unite

Meet the author

author avatar Judy Ellen
I love writing poetry, songs articles on Christianity, health, anything pertaining to families! I love writing reviews on my favorite TV programs such as Discovery, Animal planet and Dr. Phil.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
9th Nov 2012 (#)

Lovely writing and interesting fight between two famous personalities. Thank you for sharing.

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author avatar Judy Ellen
9th Nov 2012 (#)

Thank you for your kind words Md Rezaul Karim!!

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author avatar Jo
10th Nov 2012 (#)

Great article, Judy. "You call it monopoly, I call it enterprise."
Hopefully, we escaped that kind of thinking by our chiny, chiny ( newly elected Obama) chin. :)

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
11th Nov 2012 (#)

Judy love, very well done..a fascinating read...thank you...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Nov 2012 (#)

Sadly, most become slave to money. We change when our objective becomes self enrichment. Slowly money overpowers us. I have seen many change as they move up the money ladder. Thanks Judy for recalling history so vividly and highlighting the evil of greed - siva

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author avatar Clarence Schreiber
17th Nov 2012 (#)

I found this article very interested about the two men and others that was mentioned. Awesome job on the article and even more so because it was a star page.

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author avatar Judy Ellen
19th Nov 2012 (#)

Thank you Siva for appreciating my view on the evilness of greed. Also, thank you for your generous comment!

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author avatar Judy Ellen
19th Nov 2012 (#)

Thank you Clarence for reading my article!! Yes, I too was surprised about how much corruption went into the building of America! It sure makes one think!!

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author avatar Teila
20th Nov 2012 (#)


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author avatar Judy Ellen
21st Nov 2012 (#)

Thank you Teila!! You Rock!!!

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author avatar Retired
31st Dec 2012 (#)

this is good insights into two greats of US business

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author avatar M G Singh
6th Jan 2013 (#)

very interesting post. Well done

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author avatar Johnny Knox
6th Jun 2013 (#)

Great article Judy. "Greed, greed and more greed" sums it up pretty nice.

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author avatar Dennis
11th Nov 2013 (#)

I enjoyed your article, but this it is a misunderstanding of the source from which it was taken ("History: The Men Who Built America"). As that source makes quite clear it wasn't about the money, it was all about winning; the money was just a way of keeping score. Carnegie's main mentor was Tom Scott, a railroad man, who was bankrupted in a financial struggle with Rockefeller and died a broken man. Carnegie held this against Rockefeller and was determined to outdo him. They developed a practice of sending Christmas gifts to each other that were insulting. The corruption is amazing today, but much of it was considered acceptable, even normal, at the time.

On another topic raised by Jo in the comments, regulation is necessary but overregulation can be even worse. For all the evil these men did (and there was plenty) they also did some good (Carnegie believed you had failed if you didn't give it all away before you died) and the industries they built made America the most prosperous nation in world history--something Obama will never do.

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author avatar Dennis
11th Nov 2013 (#)

As far as your theme goes I would suggest their major sin wasn't greed, it was Pride.

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