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Unformatted text preview: Thomas Edison came of age just as the American industrial order was burgeoning, and his lifetime coincides with the heyday of American big business. The latter half of the nineteenth century, when Edison was doing his greatest work, was a time of incredible innovation on behalf of inventorsnearly one million patents were registered with the United States Patent Office from 18701910. But perhaps the invention with the greatest effect on the American economic order was the invention of the modern corporation. It is impossible to consider the life of a man like Edison without placing him in the context of the economic order that was dominant at the time. It is important to think about how America's chief business concerns of the timethe dominance of the corporation, the "robber barons," and questions of how unchecked capitalism were affecting labor and the pooraffected innovation. In this world, inventions were useless if affecting labor and the pooraffected innovation....
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- Fall '10