Biography of Henry Ford

Henry Ford was one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in
creating the automobile assembly line, it was his controversial
characteristics and unorthodox approach towards administrating the
Ford Motor Company which resulted in the conglomeration of one of the
most successful corporations in the world. At the turn of the century
everything was booming! The growth of the economy and stock market
increased the job opportunities as well as morals. As a result of
this industrial revolution, out of the woodwork came a humble yet
driven man, Henry Ford. Between the five dollar/day plan, his
policies on administrating the company, and his relations with his
customers, Ford was often presented as a suspicious character. This
controversial behavior epitomized the success of the company, it did
not lead to his own downfall as many suspect. The Anti-Semitic
accusations, and the belief that Ford was taking advantage of his
customers, were by far overshadowed by his brilliance and strong hand
in running his company.
Of course, there were not always supporters of Henry Ford. If
fact, there were many critics, critics who believed that Henry Ford
was so controversial that it prevented the potential of Fords from
becoming greater than it is today. By the mid twenties the Fordís was
already the worlds most successful automobile company, but their great
reputation would soon decline. Fords $5/day plan for all employees
signified the overwhelming success of the company. Many believed this
success was short-lived with the new policies dealing with the workers
which soon followed. With the need to increase production and lower
costs, in the mid 30ís Ford cut all Ford workerís wages in half.
Workers were expected to work faster, and harder. Department heads
were ordered to ban all talking and whistling while work was in
progress. All of this was a ploy by Ford to make sure he knew every
move of his workers, he was very possessive. Secondly, Ford began to
fire older workers and hire younger workers. His ideology was that
the younger workers could work more productively and more efficiently.
Which in turn would send more money flowing into his pockets. What
resulted was quite humorous in fact. Black hair dye became a hot
seller in the Detroit area . Older workers tried to disguise their
age by dying their hair black. Fordís manipulation of his workers was
immoral and unjust. There was no industrial democracy, workers were
forced to do what they were told or would be out of a job.
Henry Fordís controversial behavior reflected badly on himself
and on the Ford Motor Company. The Anti-Semitic views expressed by
Henry Ford could never be denied. It was common knowledge in fact
that Henry Ford was prejudice. He wrote an article in the Dearborn
Independent expressing his ideas that Jews were the cause of many
peoples problems. Henry Ford was sued by a man by the name Aaron
Sapiro in the early 1930ís. Sapiro had evidence that Ford threatened
himself with Anti-Semitic sentiments. Ford was recorded as saying,
ďSapiro is a shrewd little Jew. The bible says Jews will return to
Palestine, but they want to get all the money out of America first.
Sapiro should be kicked out because he is trash..Ē The result of the
trial was humiliation for the Ford company and Henry Ford himself.
After a hung jury in the first trial, the case was dropped when Ford
wrote a lengthy retraction and apologized for his statements. Fordís
was declining in profits and production among the worlds best. All
as a result of Henry Fordís ego. Thus, by 1931 Ford lowered in the
ranks, controlling only 28% of the market 2nd to GM with 31%.
Henry Ford was the godfather of the automobile industry in the
early 1900ís. The development of his River Rouge plant was considered
a ďindustrial
Cathedral.Ē Hundreds waited month after month in front of the
employment building hoping to be hired. To foreign immigrants it
meant hope and a successful future. The River Rouge plant employed
over 50,000 employees. Pols, Lithuanians, Germans, almost every
western Europe country could be represented at the Ford Plant. Like a
father Henry Ford began educational programs, teaching his illiterate
employees how to read English. Company picnics, and dinners were all
part of