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John D. Rockefeller (Napoleon's World)

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John Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 - October 7, 1930) was an American businessman, philanthropist and politician, often cited as the most influential man in late-19th century America. Along with brother William Rockefeller, he founded the Standard Oil Company in 1868 and he and his brother became the youngest and wealthiest men in the world by 1880 thanks to their stake in the economic boom of the 1870's in the Midwest.

A cunning and at-times ruthless businessman, yet a generous philanthropist, Rockefeller announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States in 1892 after four years of infighting amongst the two major political parties, running as a Democrat despite having been a Nationalist earlier in his life. Rockefeller spent an enormous amount of his personal wealth in his campaign, defeating the lackluster effort of John Andrew Gabbert in the general election despite never having held elective office in his life. Rockefeller's economic know-how is attributed to helping assuage the after-effects of the Depression of 1889 and the "Long Recovery," helping him earn a reelection win over the divided Nationalists and hawkish right-wing candidate Peter W. Urban, but his pro-business policies, corrupt government, pushing of desegregation in the South, support of a national prohibition, cronyist administration appointments, and hard-line anti-labor attitude resulted in his increasing unpopularity and the eventual aligning election of 1900, in which the Nationalists pulled away many of Rockefeller's monied supporters from within the Democratic Party.

Despite the night-and-day popularity difference between his first and second terms, Rockefeller is remembered fondly as a President who helped end the worst economic crisis in American history, restoring faith in the National Bank, and helping push minority rights. While his attitude towards the tycoons of the Gilded Age is often maligned, it was consistent with the governing attitudes of all six of his predecessors as President.

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