The overwhelming influence of monopolies and trusts
The overwhelming influence of monopolies and trusts, like the ones established by Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and Carnegie’s US Steel, led to abundant economic disputes that were never fully resolved satisfactorily. The utilization of horizontal integration by John D. Rockefeller allowed for him to simply buy smaller oil companies and merge them with his own, eliminating the competition in addtion to ammassing more resources and employees at a preexisting company Doc 2. This crippling system was enabled by a laissez-faire approch wherein in exhange for judicial leniency and the government’s cooperation to be tacitly absentee for the most part, major corporations would be able to then fund campaigns and other endeavors the politicians may have previously considering. Lloyd, a financial writer and social reformer, targeted politicians to point out that the only two avenues left to choose from is to either join a trust or to actively speak out against them, exposing the corruption of the system in the process. Keppler’s 1899 political cartoon also points out that the undeniable influence the trusts and monopolies have on the politics of the era, in this case, specifically the senators. The artist’s intent was concise; the corruption that lied at the crux of Gilded Age politics resided within the bribery and manipulation of government officials by businesses such as DuPoint and JP Morgan. An inevitably poor attempt to correct the issue of monopolies was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 which fell through due to the poor wording and vagueness that allowed for many easy loopholes to be found and easily used.