Big Business Post Civil War

Read and learn about Business after the Civil War was fought

Business Growth

These factors increased business growth:

  • New methods in technology allowed the country to increase production, and money needed for growth.

  • Land and labor were used to produce capital goods, the capital gave back by using equipment and machines to help production.

  • Banks helped majorly during this expansion, companies borrowed money to start operations. The banks made profits on these loans. This growth in business helped fuel America's industrial expansion for the years following.

Oil Business

Oil industry grew fast in the late 1800s. Many men made their fortune from oil, one of them was John D. Rockefeller. When he was 26, he and four partners set up an oil refinery. In 1870 John organized the Standard Oil Company of Ohio and planned to control the oil industry. He controlled many oil refineries in Cleveland and other cities. He used horizontal integration (which combines competing companies into one corporation) and formed a trust to build his "empire". He had created a monopoly. He controlled everything.


Several states started to pass laws restricting business combinations. Corporations avoided these laws by carrying out business in states that didn't have these laws. Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. This allowed protection from monopolies. The Act did little though because it did not clearly define "monopolies".