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Debating Enterprise
The Corporate Era (1860s-1930s)

Business and political leaders disagreed over the power of big business and whether it endangered the balance between private gain and common good.

"And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department."
-- Industrialist Andrew Carnegie contended that competition strengthened the country

"We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few; but we can't have both."
-- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis worried that the wealthy few would overwhelm the rights of the many

"The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown."
-- President Theodore Roosevelt recognized that the government was obligated to control big business
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