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This concept is introduced to you early on in this week’s readings and two characters are mentioned in detail: Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Both were captains of industry and financial geniuses, earning millions upon millions and expanding their business empires across the country.

My questions for you are:

Carnegie invented “Vertical Integration” and Rockefeller invented “Horizontal Integration.” What were the advantages and disadvantages of each?

More importantly, do you think that these business practices were ethical?


The Emergence of Big Business: Friend or Foe?


Welcome to Week 5, where we start to see the emergence of the “modern” America that we’re all familiar with!

In order to start this discussion, I’d like to bring our attention to the section entitled “The Emergence of Big Business,” on page 470 of Chapter 16 of our text. It does a great job outlining the massive changes that businesses went through in the post-Civil War Era. In particular, it talks about how why “big” business emerged during this period and their effects on the consumer, worker, and the American economy as a whole.

Your job is to try to answer the following question: Was the expansion of big business a net positive or net negative for American society? Be careful! It is easy to demonize corporations and “Big Business,” but as students of history we cannot take sides. We need to construct our opinions based on the evidence provided, which in this case is our course text.

Make an argument and feel free to disagree with your classmates! I look forward to hearing what you come up with.


 The book is Visions of America: A history of the U.S by Keene et al

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