Laissez Faire

Laissez-Faire- A French phrase originating among the Physiocrats in the 18th
century. Literally translated it means “let do,” and has been applied to the
principal of the free enterprise system, having come to mean a hands-off policy
by government with respect to business operation. The doctrine presupposes the
existence of natural economic laws of thee market place which control the buying
and selling of commodities, and assumes the existence of unfettered competition.

Andrew Carnegie- (1835-1919), Industrialist and humanitarian. B. Dunfermline,
Scotland. Came to the United States (1848); settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
Worked in cotton textile factory, telegraph company, and Pennsylvania Railroad;
served with the war department in transportation department during the Civil
War; became interested in steel (1873) gaining control of eight companies;
consolidated them into Carnegie Steel Company (1899); sold out to the United
States Steel (1901) for $250,000,000. Wrote “The Gospel of Wealth” which
appeared in the North American Review (June, 1899) and expressed his opinion
that wealth should be used for the benefit of all humanity. He established
public libraries, contributed to public education; established Carnegie
endowment for International Peace; left a fund of $125,000,000 to continue his
“aid to mankind” after his death.

John D. Rockefeller- (1839-1937), Oil magnate, capitalist, philanthropist. B.
New York. Moved to Cleveland, Ohio (1853); worked as bookkeeper, in produce
commission business and later in oil refinery; organized the standard oil
company (1870); gained a monopoly of the oil business (1882) with the formation
of the Standard Oil Trust; the trust was ordered dissolved by the courts (1892);
retired from leadership of company (1911); took part in organization of United
States Steel Corporation; had interest in railroads; established and endowed
Rockefeller Foundation, General Education Board, Rockefeller Institute for
Medical Research, University of Chicago, etc.

J.P. Morgan- (1837-1913), Financier. B. Connecticut. Educated in Europe;
served apprenticeship with representatives of his father’s firm in London and
New York (1856-60); member, Dabney, Morgan & Co. (1864-71) and Drexel,
Morgan & Co. (1871-93) which became J.P Morgan & Co. (1895); well known
for his government financing and his reorganization and purchase of large
railroad holdings; formed, organized the United States Steel Corporation (1901);
collector of rare books and at; president, Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y,;
endowed libraries; aided institutions and gave generously to charities.

Transcontinental Railroad- The first public proposal for such a line was made
by the New York City merchant Asa Whitney in 1844. At that time the United
States did not hold outright possession of land west of the Rockies, though it
exercised joint occupation of the Oregon Country until 1846, when under a treaty
with Britain it gained possession of the Pacific coast between the 42nd and 49th
parallels. Whitney's Railroad Convention proposed a line from the head of the
Great Lakes at Duluth, Minn., to the Oregon Country. The Mexican War, by adding
California, Arizona, and New Mexico to the American domain, complicated the
matter greatly. North-South sectionalism intruded when it was appreciated that
west of the Missouri any rail project would require a combination of federal and
private efforts, the American practice. In the hope of resolving the regional
conflict, the Corps of Topographic Engineers was authorized in 1854 to undertake
the Pacific Railroad Survey, which studied almost all the potential rail routes
in the West.

The survey on the 49th parallel was in the mid-1890s transformed into the
Great Northern Railway. A near neighbour, the 47th parallel survey, had in the
early 1880s been followed by the Northern Pacific Railway. The 41st parallel
survey, only a partial investigation, sketched the alignment on which was to be
built the first transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific east of Great Salt
Lake and the Central Pacific west thereof. The 35th parallel route became the
Rock Island line from Memphis to Tucumcari, N.M., and westward from there the
Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway to Los Angeles. The southernmost route,
the 32nd parallel, was to run from Shreveport, La., across Texas and then,
through the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, to San Diego; this route became the
Southern Pacific line from Los Angeles to El Paso.

Construction began in 1862 of the 41st parallel route, which had been
selected to receive federal grants, but because of the outbreak of the Civil War
relatively little was accomplished on the Union Pacific Railroad before the end
of fighting in 1865. In California, little affected by the war, construction was
more rapidly advanced. By 1865 the original juncture of the Central Pacific and
Union Pacific was moved eastward; the meeting took place on May 10, 1869, at
Promontory, Utah.

The opening of the Pacific railroad in 1869 demonstrated that the market for
the profitable operation of such