Ida Tarbell quote about the Standard Oil Company

Ida Tarbell, circa 1905
Ida Tarbell, circa 1905


“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.

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

Portrait of Ida Tarbell taken circa 1905 / Ida M. Tarbell. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>


Please click here to read our Snapshot Biography of Ida Tarbell.