1900 2000 One Hundred Years Of Business In America

1615 words - 6 pages

1 Disclaimer: This is only a brief recounting of key events that have affected the way we conduct business in America throughout the last century. If I had gone in depth with any one subject, I may have written a novel. Capitalism is one word no one takes for granted anymore. As early as the 18th century, forms of Capitalism have co-existed with other economic structures, such as democratic socialism. The idea of the common mans' desire to own and operate a business with as little government interaction as possible seemed only a dream. America has prevailed over the last century in showing the world just how real that idea is. For centuries, landowners had the upper hand in the socio-political strata, allowing few people to achieve their rank and status. The belief that the more land a person owned determined the amount of respect he was due, was above all else. Well, that was about to change drastically around the turn of the 19th century, when people like merchants and bankers would upset the delicate balance of ownership and prove whole-heartedly, that freedom in enterprise was a great concept. By the end of the Industrial Revolution, America (as well as many other countries around the world) had new and powerful tools at their disposal, machinery replaced manpower, electricity replaced oil, and steel became a dominant feature in all types of construction. In all, we were becoming much more efficient as a nation. (1900-1920) In the early 1900's, the arena of business was a messy one. Most companies had little to no organizational structure and most employees were worked like slaves, while the workload greatly outweighed the pay. For years, people attempted to gather together and create unions, but in the end, the companies would resort to bully boy tactics to keep rebellious workers from forming a defensive. Several Federal Laws were 2 passed during the first 20 years in an attempt to regulate uncontrolled business practices, but it would take a long time before anything would come into play. We would see a slow rise in the interests of the individual as Labor Laws were written, workers gained benefits no one had ever seen before, like workers compensation and a minimum wage. In 1903, we would see the creation of the Department of Commerce, used primarily for the investigations of state-to-state commerce. Henry Ford would have a tremendous impact on business early on by creating the Ford Motor Company in 1907, and popularizing the ideas of mass production, profit sharing and paying his employees well above the average. He was instrumental in the effort to produce vehicles for the First World War (1914-1918), which created many jobs and helped to boost the economy. Ford would also salvage the Oil Industry from complete collapse despite a little known gadget called the light bulb. After the breakup of the monopoly known as Standard Oil in 1911, the Rockefellers turned their sights towards the automobile industry and proved...

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