Ida Tarbell quote about the Standard Oil Company



“Very often people who admit the facts, who are willing to see that Mr. Rockefeller has employed force and fraud to secure his ends, justify him by declaring, ‘It’s business.’ That is, ‘it’s business’ has to come to be a legitimate excuse for hard dealing, sly tricks, special privileges. It is a common enough thing to hear men arguing that the ordinary laws of morality do not apply in business.”

– Ida Tarbell, journalist and pioneer of investigative journalism. This quote comes from her work, The History of the Standard Oil Company, which helped lead to the break up of the company.

Black and white 1904 portrait of Ida Tarbell, an American writer and investigative journalist of the early 20th century. She is depicted with a stern expression, hair styled in an updo typical of the era, wearing a high-necked blouse with lace and ruffled detailing.
Ida Tarbell, 1904

“Ida Tarbell quote about the Standard Oil Company” sources:

  • Tarbell, Ida M. The History of the Standard Oil Company. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co.
  • Portrait of Ida Tarbell taken circa 1905 / Ida M. Tarbell. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>


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