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FORD.GIFSPACER.GIFFord, Henry. (1863-1947). Born, Wayne County, Michigan

American Industrialist famous for his work in mass production. Founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Ford challenged the powerful Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, which held that all makers of gasoline powered automobiles needed to be licensed (and therefore owed portions of their profits) by the ALAM. Ford fought a six year court battle that finally overturned the validity of the famous "Seldon Patent" His victory changed the auto industry and made him a popular David (vs. Goliath) figure. Ford's Model T, which began production in 1908 and ended in 1927, was a significant catalyst for change in American industry and American culture.
Ford was a complex man. For announcing that he would pay his workers $5 a day (nearly twice the prevailing rate), he was hailed as a great humanitarian and branded a mad socialist. He favored an almost monarchist business philosophy, with himself in the role of benevelent but totally sovereign king. He embarked on construction projects to match his own personal view of how things ought to be. For all his fame and noteriety, Ford was at times surprisingly ignorant. One of his widely published dicta was that "history is more or less bunk."
Ford opposed the United States' entry into the Great War. One of his most publicized acts was in November 1915. He chartering a ship to take himself and a party of pacifists to Europe in an attempt to end the conflict by means of "continuous mediation." His so-called Peace Ship was widely ridiculed.
In 1918, Ford purchased a newspaper, The Dearborn Independent , in which he published as series of attacks on the "International Jew," a mythical figure which he blamed for financing the Great War. Henry's only child, Edsel, took over as president of Ford Motor company in December 1918. Ford made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 1918. After the war, Henry remained an active industrial, political and social figure.


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