Wednesday, March 12, 2008

John Davison Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller, born in 1839 in New York, managed to fulfil his childhood dreams, namely, to become a wealthy and philanthropic man. Indeed, when he was sixteen he already promised to give 1/10 of his fortune to charity. In 1873 he founded the Standard Oil of Ohio which encountered an immediate success and became one of the largest shippers of oil and kerosene in the United States. As time went by the company absorbed the majority of his competitors so that it gained almost complete control of oil production in the United States. In 1882, he set up the Standard Oil Trust which was one of the world's first and largest multinational corporations. This multinational brought advantage to people: kerosene products were cheaper, of better quality and more available. But it should be noted that his policy was also criticized by journalists and politicians and as a consequence of the various press campaigns against him he became one of America's most hated men. He remained at the head of the Standard Oil Company until 1911 which also corresponds to the date of the multinational’s dissolution. He ended his career with a fortune estimated to $900 million.

Aside from his career as a leader of the petroleum industry he devoted his time to philanthropy. His donations and his organization (General Education Board) were aimed at promoting education at all levels everywhere in the country. He also founded the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research which later became the Rockefeller University. More generally the main objectives of his foundations were to support public health, medical training and the arts.

To conclude, John Rockefeller had two great ambitions, namely, to reach a fortune of $100,000 and live until his 100th birthday. It would be an understatement to say that his first wish came true since he died with a fortune estimated at 1.4 billion dollars which made him one of the wealthiest men in the world. As for his second wish only three years were missing because he died in 1937. John Rockefeller is a perfect illustration of the American dream. Indeed he belonged to the working class but managed to reach a place among the icons of the United States.

Cindy & Jonathan

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