The acquisition of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company by the United States Steel Corporation: A legend re-examined

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McLaughlin, John W
american studies; social sciences
thesis / dissertation description
The purchase of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (T.C.I. and R. Co.) by the U.S. Steel Corporation at the height of Panic of 1907 evoked criticism by politicians which historians have subsequently reiterated. Some of this criticism was, and has been, levelled at President Theodore Roosevelt for not objecting to this merger as a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Elbert Gary, head of the U.S. Steel Corporation, had asked the President, prior to the purchase, if the government would take legal action against his company because of this merger and was assured that it would not. A large part of the criticism has focused on the idea that the Morgan interests used the slump in security prices that accompanied the Panic to take over a valuable piece of property. Thus the U.E. Steel Corporation either created or intensified its monopolistic control of the American steel industry. Most of the contemporary criticism of the President's action and the purchase was politically motivated. Eater authors and historians have accepted most of this criticism without evaluation of the sources or investigation of the facts. Further, this purchase did not create a monopoly, indeed it probably prevented a regional monopoly from coming into being in the South. Finally, the prior approval or disapproval of the executive branch of the government which was requested for this merger set a precedent which is present day government policy.