If you were to make a list of the top ten industrial giants, and then winnow it down to five, and then down to one, there’s little doubt who would remain: Henry Ford. Can anyone equal his genius? The mass-marketing of the automobile wrought changes in the fabric of our daily lives that few inventions since fire can equal. As if that were not enough, the assembly line reshaped modern industry, helping smooth the path from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. But let us now consider how differently history would view Mr. Ford, if, say, he’d been a vicious anti-Semite.
June 6, 1999