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Every culture is shaped and altered, in some way, by the prolific and powerful figures. Each culture has one, or several, pivotal moments and figures that change everything; whether for the better or worse; the United States of America is no exception to that rule and during the Fall of 2012 the History Channel aimed to take a look at the prolific members of society who shaped the nation. A four-part miniseries entitled The Men Who Built America debuted to rave reviews.

Each episode was two hours long and focused on an individual who was influential and powerful during the industrial revolution. The four episodes focus on the progression of the nation through the industrial revolution into the world of the automobile. The episodes focus on several important figures, but great attention is paid to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller. These four individuals play important roles in exactly what shaped, built and altered the American Landscape forever.

Vanderbilt; a steamboat adapter eventually built a railroad empire. Carnegie took the steel world by storm. Rockefeller focused on the world of oil and Morgan made his money in big business. These four individuals grew to such great power within their individual fields that they influenced everything from business operations to politics, to the building of roads and railways. There reach was so impressive that little was done without the influence of one or all of the men. Because of this they truly built America.

The History Channel's miniseries The Men Who Built America takes an unbiased, and often unapologetic look, at the way these men and other powerful individuals during the time built and changed the nation. The miniseries also takes a serious look at the relationship between the men; often competitive and rarely nice, these powerful men were intimidated and put off by one another. This view of the men lends itself well to an interesting delve into the world of psychology; but perhaps that's a different miniseries in the works.

The popularity of the miniseries has many wondering if further series will be produced. While no official word has been heard, yet, it is likely that the world will see more men who have built the nation through the world of a docudrama, miniseries by the History Channel.

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Tuesday 9:00 PM et/pt on History Channel
1 Season, 9 Episodes - New Series
Drama, Family, History
7.8/10
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The Men Who Built America Full Episode Guide

  • A young engineer named Henry Ford devises the plan for a gas-powered car. McKinley is assassinated and his VP Theodore Roosevelt takes office and quickly passes a series of regulations increasing oversight of American business. Ford receives his financial backing and comes up with the concept of the assembly line. He targets the middle class with his new product and changes the landscape of America. Rockefeller is put on trial for anti-trust violations. He loses in court and his company, Standard Oil, is one of the first monopolies broken up by the US government. JP Morgan helps to establish the Federal Reserve. This cements Morgan's legacy as the father of modern capitalism. Carnegie, still reeling from his culpability in the Johnstown disaster, gives away much of his fortune. His example of charity paves the way for individuals like Bill Gates who will do the same. As the US army sets sail for Europe, one thing is clear... these men didn't discover America. They built it.

  • Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan have gone unmonitored for decades, but American politicians are about to change that. They want these men to fall into line under government control. The men, some lifelong enemies, come together with a plan to buy the White House by donating the modern day equivalent of $30 million dollars to Ohio Governor, William McKinley. McKinley intends to repay his backers; he repeals regulation after regulation to allow them the freedom to do unimaginable things without consequence or impediment. Morgan and Carnegie create US Steel, the first billion dollar company while Rockefeller takes control of 90% of North American oil.

  • Railroads, oil, steel and electricity have all been harnessed in less than 50 years, but the face of America is forever changing.

  • With an investment from Morgan, the Edison Electric Company is created and begins wiring homes in New York. A rival, Nikola Tesla, soon emerges with a different technology for electric light. Edison is convinced his is better and goes to war with Tesla. As things escalate, Morgan begins to lose faith. Eventually, Tesla's technology prevails and his theory of Alternating Current (AC) becomes the standard. Morgan fires Edison and renames Edison Electric Company as General Electric (GE). GE is still one of the biggest companies in the world today. Edison vows never to work with electricity again. He begins work on his motion picture camera.

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