The Development of American Petroleum Pipelines: A Study in Private Enterprise and Public Policy, 1862-1906

By Arthur Menzies Johnson | Go to book overview

VII

Pipelines as an Issue in the Antitrust Movement and the Petroleum Industry, 1888-1895

THE pattern of industrial organization set by the Standard Oil Trust in 1882 found many imitators during the following decade. As capital was combined and plants grew larger, public interest in the new form of organization mounted. In 1888 each of the seven political parties offering presidential candidates declared against monopolies, and the four leading parties specifically condemned trusts and industrial combinations.1 Although trusts were not the major issue of the 1888 presidential campaign, they had definitely arrived on the scene as a matter of national interest and concern. Furthermore, the Standard Oil Trust was regarded as the archetype, and state and federal trust investigations provided fresh materials with which the literature of exposure strengthened this popular conception.

The trust investigations stimulated not only attacks on Standard Oil but also a systematic defense of its position. While the Trust had yet to come to a full realization of the importance of public relations, during the years 1888-1895 its officials developed the arguments with which they brought their defense to the public in the next decade. Significantly, they stressed the Trust's accomplishments

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