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Antitrust 1: Standard Oil

Ida Tarbell, who investigated John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. Her discoveries helped change the economy of the United States.
Harris & Ewing
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Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Today on the show, we're launching a three part series on antitrust law, one of the most important but least-understood bodies of law in the United States.

For this first episode in the series, we're starting at the very beginning, in the nineteenth century, with the story of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil. We go to Titusville, Pennsylvania, and retrace the steps of muckraking journalist Ida Tarbell as she uncovers the back room deals struck by Rockefeller, then one of the world's richest men. Tarbell's investigative reporting in the early 1900s inspired a court case that helped change the design of the American economy.

Music: "Cold Heart" and "What I Need."

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Kenny Malone
Kenny Malone is a cohost for NPR's Planet Money podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for WNYC's Only Human podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for Miami's WLRN. And before that, he was a reporter for his friend T.C.'s homemade newspaper, Neighborhood News.
Julia Simon
Julia Simon is the Climate Solutions reporter on NPR's Climate Desk. She covers the ways governments, businesses, scientists and everyday people are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She also works to hold corporations, and others, accountable for greenwashing.