The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America? It's on the History Channel. It covers the lives of Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller and Ford- dreamers and capitalists that built empires, and the country.
It covers all the goings on with industry, politics and capitalism back then- the good, bad and the ugly. Ruthless fellows these guys could be. They even include short segments with current tycoons like Donald Trump, that Apple computer guy and some others giving their perspective on capitalism and entrepreneurship.
I was surprised to learn a few things I must have missed in History class:
I didn't know that J.P. Morgan pretty much bailed out the U.S. government at one point. Apparently the country was about to go bankrupt and he came to its aid by helping arrange and finance loans to keep everyone solvent. I don't believe they mentioned the year in the show, but reading Wikipedia I'm assuming it was the
I'd also never paid attention to how Theodore Roosevelt became president, at least his first time. It seems Morgan, Carnegie and Rockefeller schemed together to get William Mckinley elected. They feared his competitor, William Jennings Bryan, would interfere with business too much. They were successful and Mckinley was elected.
The three also didn't trust an up and comer, Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke of breaking up monopolies. They certainly didn't want him for President so, when Mckinley ran for his second term, they managed to get Roosevelt to run for Vice President- a basically powerless position where Roosevelt could no harm.
They never anticipated Mckinley's assassination, which left Roosevelt to ascend to the Presidency. After that, he became a real problem for Morgan and his friends.
Last surprise for me (I went to bed for I could finish watching this part) was about Henry Ford. Back when he wanted to develop his automobile that everyone could afford. He had to essentially get permission from an association of the then current auto manufacturers to produce his car.
It's not mentioned in Wikipedia, but that association eventually denied his permit, putting the quash on his immediate plans. He went to court over the right to produce his automobile and won. I was under the impression that back then anyone could produce anything they wanted with much less hassle than today. Guess not.
Fun show. In fact, I found the wife watching it first (surprised that she'd be interested in it), which was what got me started. Once I started, I couldn't stop, except when it got too far past my bedtime. I can't find a current schedule of when it's running on the show's web page, but it should be in the various TV guides. Enjoy!