Big Business Post Civil War

How and Why Businesses Grew

Factors of Production


  • Land- all natural resources
  • Labor- the workers needed to turn raw materials into goods
  • Capital- the equipment, machinery and tools, used in the production. And also the money that was invested into everything
The corporations started with the railroads and moved to the manufacturers which soon fueled the growth of America's industrial expansion. The banks were part of the economic growth, who made money off of loans that businesses would often borrow.

Andrew Carnegie

Went from a telegraph operator to the manager of the Pennsylvania Railroad to dominating the steel industry.


  • After working for the railroad he decided to learn more bout the growing steel industry
  • Soon built a steel plant near Pittsburgh and used the Bessemer process-named it J. Edgar Thompson Steel Works
  • He used vertical integration to gain control of all parts of the business
  • By 1900 he was producing one-third of the nation's steel
  • Carnegie sold his company to J. Pierpont Morgan who then combined it with other businesses to make the United States Steel Corporation

How and Why the Government Began Ristrictions

The growing opposition to trusts and monopolies pushed state governments to pass laws restricting business combinations.

  • Corporations started doing business in states that did not pass these laws


The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890 in an attempt to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraint and monopoly.
  • This had little affect until it was used to stop a strike by railroad workers that threatened to "restrain" the nation's mail delivery