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9th Grade United States History Class

Lesson: Industrial Revolution Unit; Monopolies
National Standards:
1. Understands how the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming
transformed the American people
2. Understands the rise of the American labor movement and how political issues
reflected social and economic changes
Iowa Core Concept/Skill: Understand the historical relationship between economic growth,
higher production levels, new technologies, and standard of living.
Objective: Students will be able to understand how the creation of big businesses changed
the way businesses were ran.
1. How do businesses change our lives?
Made it better/worse
2. Introduce Big Businesses: Rockefeller and Carnegie
3. Rockefeller and Carnegie activity
Introduction/Hook: The invention of new machines and technology helped businesses
grow and the government’s “hands off” approach helped create big businesses. Big
business tycoons, like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller grew into power. (Let’s
watch a short video clip on Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller)
Transition: Andrew Carnegie dominated the steel business by buying up resources that
were needed to produce steel: iron fields, coal mines, railroads, this is known as vertical
integration.This short clip from the History Channel’s movie, ​
The Men Who Built America​
,
is a short introduction to Carnegie’s legacy.
Activity: Andrew Carnegie
Carnegie Steel Corporation
http://goo.gl/3n31sb
Transition: Now let’s look at J.D. Rockefeller, who like Carnegie, held a monopoly.
Rockefeller bought up nearly every refinery, known as horizontal integration. Now let’s see
a short clip on the influence of Rockefeller.
Activity: John D. Rockefeller
Standard Oil
http://goo.gl/ZhnSQJ

Transition: Now that you understand powerful business tycoons, like Rockefeller and
Carnegie, what do you think they created with their business practices? What does this do
to other businesses? Do you think that they have shaped how companies and businesses
are run today?
Carnegie/Rockefeller activity: Divide the students up into groups (half the room) and
assign each a topic to research Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Give students
20-25 mins to research and then have them present their findings to the rest of the class.
(Philanthropy: An action that is used to improve the well-being of people)
Possible discussion questions for oral assessment: (if time) How is Carnegie’s story viewed
as the American Dream? Why would you say that Carnegie’s life is an example of the
American Dream? What is the American Dream?
Do you think Rockefeller and Carnegie were good businessmen? Why do you think they
donated so much of their money later on in life? Carnegie- Gospel of Wealth- rich has a
moral obligation to distribute their money that promote the welfare and happiness of the
common man.
Next class period: Going to discuss monopolies were created by big businesses and how the
government responded by passing antitrust laws.
Carnegie Resources
http://www.history.com/topics/andrew-carnegie
Rockefeller resources
http://www.history.com/topics/john-d-rockefeller
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie Activity 
 
Directions: After reading the handout on John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, in small groups 
discuss the main ideas of their life, business, and philanthropy and fill in each box. 
.  
John D. Rockefeller 

Andrew Carnegie 

Life 

Life 

Business 

Business 

Philanthropy 

Philanthropy 

ANDREW CARNEGIE
 
INTRODUCTION 
Scottish­born Andrew Carnegie (1835­1919) was an American industrialist who amassed a fortune in 
the steel industry then became a major philanthropist. Carnegie worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory 
as a boy before rising to the position of division superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859. 
While working for the railroad, he invested in various ventures, including iron and oil companies, and 
made his first fortune by the time he was in his early 30s. In the early 1870s, he entered the steel 
business, and over the next two decades became a dominant force in the industry. In 1901, he sold 
the Carnegie Steel Company to banker John Pierpont Morgan for $480 million. Carnegie then 
devoted himself to philanthropy, eventually giving away more than $350 million. 
 
 
 
STEEL MAGNATE  
In the early 1870s, Carnegie co­founded his first steel company, 
near Pittsburgh. Over the next few decades, he created a steel 
empire, maximizing profits and minimizing inefficiencies through 
ownership of factories, raw materials and transportation 

infrastructure involved in steel­making. In 1892, his primary holdings were consolidated to form 
Carnegie Steel Company. 
 
PHILANTHROPIST 
After Carnegie sold his steel company, the diminutive titan, who stood 5’3”, retired from business 
and devoted himself full­time to philanthropy. In 1889, he had penned an essay, “The Gospel of 
Wealth,” in which he stated that the rich have “a moral obligation to distribute [their money] in ways 
that promote the welfare and happiness of the common man.” Carnegie also said that “The man who 
dies thus rich dies disgraced.” Among his philanthropic activities, he funded the establishment of 
more than 2,500 public libraries around the globe, donated more than 7,600 organs to churches 
worldwide and endowed organizations (many still in existence today) dedicated to research in 
science, education, world peace and other causes. Among his gifts was the $1.1 million required for 
the land and construction costs of Carnegie Hall, the legendary ​
New York​
 City concert venue that 
opened in 1891. 

 

http://www.history.com/topics/andrew­carnegie

 
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER 
INTRODUCTION 
John D. Rockefeller (1839­1937), founder of the Standard Oil Company, 
became one of the world’s wealthiest men and a major philanthropist. 
Born into modest circumstances in upstate New York, he entered the 
then­fledgling oil business in 1863 by investing in a Cleveland, Ohio, 
refinery. In 1870, he established Standard Oil, which by the early 1880s 
controlled some 90 percent of U.S. refineries and pipelines. Critics 
accused Rockefeller of engaging in unethical practices, such as predatory 
pricing and colluding with railroads to eliminate his competitors, in order to 
gain a monopoly in the industry. In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court found 
Standard Oil in violation of anti­trust laws and ordered it to dissolve. 
During his life Rockefeller donated more than $500 million to various 
philanthropic causes. 
 
STANDARD OIL 
In 1865, Rockefeller borrowed money to buy out some of his partners and 
take control of the refinery, which had become the largest in Cleveland. Over 
the next few years, he acquired new partners and expanded his business interests in the growing oil 
industry. At the time, kerosene, derived from petroleum and used in lamps, was becoming an 

economic staple. In 1870, Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, along with his 
younger brother William (1841­1922), Henry Flagler (1830­1913) and a group of other men. John 
Rockefeller was its president and largest shareholder. 
Standard Oil gained a monopoly in the oil industry by buying rival refineries and developing 
companies for distributing and marketing its products around the globe. In 1882, these various 
companies were combined into the Standard Oil Trust, which would control some 90 percent of the 
nation’s refineries and pipelines. In order to exploit economies of scale, Standard Oil did everything 
from build its own oil barrels to employ scientists to figure out new uses for petroleum by­products. 
 
PHILANTHROPY 
Rockefeller retired from day­to­day business operations of Standard Oil in the mid­1890s. Inspired in 
part by fellow Gilded Age tycoon ​
Andrew Carnegie​
 (1835­1919), who made a vast fortune in the 
steel industry then became a philanthropist and gave away the bulk of his money, Rockefeller 
donated more than half a billion dollars to various educational, religious and scientific causes. 
Among his activities, he funded the establishment of the University of ​
Chicago​
 and the Rockefeller 
Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University). 
http://www.history.com/topics/john­d­rockefeller