The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860-1914: Commercial, Extractive, and Industrial Enterprise


The economic and cultural roots of contemporary American business can be traced directly to developments in the era between the Civil War and World War I. The physical expansion of the country combined with development of transportation and communication infrastructures to create a free market of vast proportion and businesses capable of capitalizing on the accompanying "economies of scale," through higher productivity, lower costs, and broader distribution. The Birth of Big Business in the United States illuminates the conditions that changed the face of American business and the national economy, giving rise to such titans as Standard Oil, United States Steel, American Tobacco, and Sears, Roebuck, as well as institutions such as the United States Post Office. During this period, commercial banking and law also evolved, and, as the authors argue, business and government were not antagonists but partners in creating mass consumer markets, process innovations, and regulatory frameworks to support economic growth. The Birth of Big Business in the United States is not only an incisive account of modern business development but a fascinating glimpse into a dynamic period of American history.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 2006