Consolidation of Business
Consolidation, as the country had discovered in its experience with the Standard Oil Company and the American Sugar Refining Company, might result in monopolies and as such was dangerous to the nation. Among numerous causes for the revival of business consolidations after 1897 was, of course, the return of prosperity and the buoyant optimism which suffused the nation at the opening of the new century. Industries adaptable to consolidation or offering a possibility of greater profits through some form of combination had already caught the eye of promoters and financiers. Professor William Z. Ripley, writing in 1915, pointed out that a succession of devices had been utilized as a basis for promoting monopoly conditions since the Civil War—the pool, the trust, the simple corporation, and the finance company or holding corporation. So many influences, economic, political, and legal, operated against prevention of monopoly through antitrust legislation that the student is surprised that anything was accomplished through this medium.