The theme of chapter 17 revolves around corporations and growing industry. Monopolies and trusts were huge in American industry in the 19th Century. President Cleveland did not like monopolies and trusts, as he viewed them as repressive to citizens. Monopolies and trusts that eliminate competition/trade today are illegal, by the Sherman Antitrust Law, however, America still has companies that control the markets legally by being the best makers of a certain product (they do not buy out companies though).

What is a Monopoly?
A monopoly is a corporation that has bought out all of it's competition and therefore is the exclusive commodity in that particular area of business. Monopolies are not good for the American people. By elimination competition they control commerce; prices can rise and the manufactured product could not be the best however it is the people's only choice so they have to buy it anyway.

What is a Trust?

A trust now an illegal agreement in which a person can buy a large part of a company. In order to keep control of the corporation, the original owners make the people who are interested in buying a share of their company (the beneficiary's) sign a contract in which they "trust" the decision making of the company with the corporation members (the trustee's). If the company makes more money so do you, if they loose money you do as well.

Important Trusts/Monopolies to Know:
Standard Oil Trust:John D. Rockefeller owned 90% of the oil refinery business by 1881. He bought out all of his competition and put together a board of trustee's that he ultimately controlled, this is called horizontal integration. He also controlled the price of oil and its supply.
"The Rockefeller Standard Oil monopoly octopus of total domination systematically infiltrating every sphere of human activity"

U.S. Steel: In the 1870's Andrew Carnegie began using vertical integration. This system made his company control everything from the raw materials to the shipping. This helped ensure full control of the steel industry as shown when he turned his company over in the 1900 to J.P. Morgan. U.S. Steel became the first billion-dollar company, that controlled over 3/5's of the nation's steel.

"The Carnegie Steel Homestead Works were the largest steel plant in the United States. The mills were sold by Andrew Carnegie to United States Steel. The mills operated until the 1970s, when the steel industry suffered irreversible setbacks. The land once occupied by the Homestead Works is now home to the Waterfront, a residential and commercial development."

Movements Away from Trusts/Monopolies:
Sherman Anti-Trust Act:
1890-A federal law against monopolies. It attempted to prohibit any company that restrained trade or commerce but it was not very effective. At this time corrupt big business' were stronger than the federal government.
--Free Market-Capitalism: Adam Smith , wanted the economy to be regulated by supply and demand not by monopolies or the government.

Unions : workers raised up against big business' unfair laws. They used political actions and put on strikes, picketed and boycotted to attempt to change working conditions, hours, low wages, and everything they thought was not fair.

-National Labor Union
-Knights of Labor (Haymarket Square Riot )
-American Federation of Labor
-Homestead Steel Strike
-Pullman Strike

In the end of the 19th century, labor unions and capitalist organizations were still butting heads. Unions were a strong force, however they were no match for the strength and financial upper hand of the monopolies/trusts of the major corporations.

Resources used:
AMSCO textbook
American History textbook (Alan Brinkley)