Henry Ford Criticism - Essay

Reinhold Niebuhr (essay date 1926)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "How Philanthropic Is Henry Ford?" in Love and Justice, edited by D.B. Robertson, Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1957, pp. 98-102.

[Niebuhr was an American theologian who worked and wrote extensively on applying the insights of Christianity to the analysis and solution of social problems. A pastor in Detroit at the time the following essay was written, Niebuhr wrote many books, including Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics (1932), Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History (1937), The Nature and Destiny of Man (1941-1943), and The Structure of Nations and Empires: A Study of the Recurring Patterns and...

(The entire section is 2354 words.)

Donald Davidson (essay date 1930)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The World As Ford Factory," in The Superfluous Man: Conservative Critics of American Culture, 1900-1945, Edited by Robert M. Crunden, University of Texas Press, 1977, pp. 81-4.

[Davidson was one of the major figures in the Southern Agrarian literary and critical movement that started at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s and included writers such as John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren. The Agrarians were politically conservative and espoused the value of agricultural life and labor; consequently, they were highly critical of industrialization. In the following essay, he criticizes Ford's materialistic, mechanistic, and capitalistic ideals.]

There is...

(The entire section is 1720 words.)

Edmund Wilson (essay date 1931)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: The American Earthquake, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958, pp. 214-48.

[Wilson was one of the foremost literary critics in the United States. A prolific writer who also produced poetry, plays, novels, journalistic nonfiction, and historical studies, Wilson was at all times concerned with the social reality that gives human actions, and the products of human actions, context and meaning. In the following essay, originally published in 1931, he presents a portrait of life in the auto industry, examining the reality against the various myths of Ford legend.]

On the dreary yellow Michigan waste with its gray stains of frozen water, the old cars wait like horses at the...

(The entire section is 13647 words.)

Gamaliel Bradford (essay date 1931)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Wheel of Fortune: Henry Ford," in The Quick and The Dead, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1931, pp. 115-48.

[In the following essay, Bradford presents a generally positive overview of Ford's life and career.]


On the whole it may be said that the United States of America has always been a country of work. During the last three hundred years, with the developing means of transportation, repeated shocks of energy have come to this country, a flood of wanderers, representing the pushing, eager, active, restless elements of a score of European peoples, has pressed over, determined to make its way and its fortune, sometimes by illegitimate...

(The entire section is 9002 words.)

John Dos Passos (essay date 1936)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tin Lizzie," in America is West: An Anthology of Middle-western Life and Literature, edited by John T. Flanagan, The University of Minnesota Press, March 15, 1945, pp. 587-94.

[Dos Passos was one of the most important American novelists of the twentieth century. His most highly regarded worksincluding Three Soldiers (1921), Manhattan Transfer (1925), and the three volumes of his U.S.A. trilogy: The 42nd Parallel (7950), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936)—reflect a Modernist literary sensibility and a passion for liberal social and political ideals. After feeling personally betrayed by the actions of communists...

(The entire section is 2747 words.)

Gustavus Myers (essay date 1943)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Henry Ford's Seven Years' Calumnies Against Jews," in History of Bigotry in the United States, Random House, Inc., 1943, pp. 333-48.

[In the following essay, Myers examines the anti-Semitic articles Ford published in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent. The articles were originally published in a column entitled "The International Jew."]

Parallel to certain years of the Ku Klux Klan a centralized and intensive agitation was carried on exclusively against Jews by a publication owned and financed by one of the richest and most conspicuous of American industrialists. This was Henry Ford. Born, in 1863, on a farm near Greenfield, Michigan, he had been...

(The entire section is 5309 words.)

Sigmund Diamond (essay date 1955)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Henry Ford," in The Reputation of the American Businessman, Harvard University Press, 1955, pp. 142-75.

[In the following essay, Diamond surveys the obituary assessments of Ford's life and cultural significance as reported in both mainstream and alternative news media.]

In 1923, Arthur H. Vandenberg, editor and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald, sharpened his pen to prick the rapidly swelling "Henry Ford for President" bubble. "Ford has to his debit," the editor wrote, "more erratic interviews on public questions, more dubious quotations, more blandly boasted ignorance of American history and American experience, more political nonsense, more...

(The entire section is 15477 words.)

Anne Jardim (essay date 1970)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Fixation and the Twenty-Five Track Mind," in The First Henry Ford: A Study in Personality and Business Leadership, The MIT Press, 1970, pp. 34-74.

[In the following essay, Jardim examines the early part of Ford's career.]

"Mr. Ford," W. J. Cameron liked to say, "had a twenty-five track mind and there were trains going out and coming in on all tracks at all times." Here Cameron was attempting to account for the diverse interests and the singular opinions that at one time or another Ford saw fit to uphold. How else, runs the implication, does one make sense of Ford's excursions into international politics, racial bigotry, newspaper publishing, fertilizer...

(The entire section is 14214 words.)

Leo P. Ribuffo (essay date 1980)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Henry Ford and The International Jew," in Right Center Left: Essays in American History, Rutgers University Press, 1992, pp. 70-105.

[In the following essay, which was originally published in American Jewish History in June 1980, Ribuffo closely examines the historical context and the content of the anti-Semitic articles Ford published in The Dearborn Independent and, subsequently, in the four volumes entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, Jewish Activities in the United States, Jewish Influences in American Life, and Aspects of Jewish Power in the United States.]

Social scientists and journalists have continued to...

(The entire section is 12598 words.)