Rockefeller's 26 shares of Standard Oil Company"I never had an animus against Standard Oil's size and wealth, never objected to their corporate form," wrote Ida Tarbell in her autobiography. "I was willing that they should combine and grow as big and rich as they could, but only by legitimate means. But they had never played fair, and that ruined their greatness for me."

John D. Rockefeller, of course, disagreed: "It was the law of nature, the survival of the fittest, that [the small refiners] could not last against such a competitor. Undoubtedly ... some of them were very bitter. But there was no band of greedy men plundering them. An able, intelligent, far-seeing organization simply outstripped men in the casual, haphazard way of doing business. That was inevitable."

Shortly after the site launched in 2000, we asked our users to answer these controversial questions. Below are the results from this poll.

In your opinion, did Rockefeller achieve a monopoly through legitimate means?





How would you characterize the legacy of Standard Oil?





How do you view the recent wave of mergers and their impact on our economy and society?





Do you agree with the government's antitrust decision in the Microsoft case?





Total number of poll participants: 4206

Of the participants polled, 2180 watched at least half of the film; of those, 1757 said the film influenced their vote.

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

We invite you to tell us your own stories - whether you lived through a tumultuous time period or learned about it from a relative, a book or a movie.