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vision of “the best thing for us all.” Rockefeller's remarks conveyed the common view ofcorporate barons that what was best for their corporations was best for “us all.”Address by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Delivered at Pueblo, Colorado(Denver: W. H. Kistler, 1915).
Speech to Colorado Fuel and Iron Officials and Employee Representatives, October 2, 1915Mr. President, and Fellow Members of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company:This is a red-letter day in my life. It is the first time I have ever had the good fortune to meet the representatives of the employees of this great company, its officers and mine superintendents, together, and I can assure you that I am proud to be here, and that I shall remember this gathering as long as I live. Had this meeting been held two weeks ago, I should have stood here as a stranger to many of you, recognizing few faces. Having had the opportunity last week of visiting all of the camps in the southern [Colorado] coal fields and of talking individually with practically all of the representatives, except those who were away; having visited in your homes, met many of your wives and children, we meet here not as strangers but as friends, and it is in that spirit of mutual friendship that I am glad to have this opportunity to discuss with you men our common interests. Since this is a meeting of the officers of the Company and the representatives of the employees, it is only by your courtesy that I am here, for I am not so fortunate as to be either one or the other; and yet I feel that I am intimately associated with you men, for in a sense I represent the stockholders and the directors. Before speaking of the plan of industrial cooperation to which our President referred, I want to say just a few words outlining my view as to what different interests constitute a company or corporation.Every corporation is composed of four parties. First, there are the stockholders; they putup the money which pays the wages, builds the plants, operates the business, and they appoint the directors to represent their interests in the corporation. We have, secondly, the directors, whose business it is to see that the chief executive officers of the Company are carefully and wisely selected, to plan out its larger and more important policies, particularly its financial policies, and generally to see to it that the company is wisely administered. And, thirdly, we have the officers of the company, whose duty it is to conduct the current operation of the business. While last, but by no means least—for I might just as well have started at the other end—we come to the employees, who contribute their skill and their work.Now the interest of these four parties is a common one. An effort to advance one interest at the expense of any other, means loss to all, and when any one of the four parties in this corporation selfishly considers his own interest alone, and is disregardful of the interests of the other three parties, sooner or later disaster must follow. This little table [exhibiting a square table with four legs] illustrates my conception of a