Ida Tarbell – Taking on the Trust

Although John D. Rockefeller and Ida B. Tarbell had seemingly little in common, their paths epically crossed over time. John Rockefeller, co-founder of Standard Oil, and Ida Tarbell, investigative journalist, became intertwined in a conflict not only involving Standard Oil, but also the financial well-being of citizens and businesses in America. Through Ida's writing, John D., and many other American citizens, realized that journalism plays an exceptionally important role in politics and government. Ida used her passion for journalism and the truth to uncover the deceptive and unlawful business tactics used by John D. Rockefeller's company, Standard Oil.
Ida B. Tarbell, daughter of Franklin and Esther Tarbell, was born on November 5, 1857 in Eerie County, Pennsylvania. Ida Tarbell attended school to the college level, despite the wide-spread racial inequality of that era. During the 1850's, the presence of women in any workplace was unusual. Ida Tarbell went against the odds, as she did not depend on a man for income, or submit to virtually any of society's norms. Ida Tarbell had a passion for learning, which eventually contributed to her great success as an investigative journalist. Ida did not let the desires or stereotypes of society stop her from publishing what she saw fit to share with the general public.
As Ida B. Tarbell grew up in Pennsylvania, she became increasingly exposed to the effects the discovery and usage of oil had on Americans. Although her father, Franklin Tarbell, found work in this field, Ida was well aware of the dangers it held. Oil's hazardous nature caused explosions, killing people by the dozens. Ida's adolescence was greatly hindered by her close proximity to an oil well. "Living in an oil boomtown held little joy for curious children; just about everything interesting seemed to be off limits because of the potential danger" (Weinburg, 57). Her mother, Esther Ta…

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