The Men Who Built America

Watch The Men Who Built America

  • TV-14
  • 2012
  • 1 Season
  • 8.5  (4,630)

The Men Who Built America is a historical docudrama series that explores the stories of some of the most influential and successful businessmen in American history. The show follows the lives and careers of men like Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford, all of whom played major roles in shaping the industries and economy of America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Narrated by actor Campbell Scott, each episode of the series offers a detailed and engaging look at the lives and work of these iconic figures. Through interviews with historians and experts, archival footage, and dramatized reenactments, The Men Who Built America provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of American business during a time of immense change and growth.

The show delves into the various industries that these men were involved in, from railroads and shipping to oil and steel. Along the way, viewers learn about key business strategies and innovations that helped these men achieve their success, as well as the challenges and setbacks they faced along the way.

One of the key themes of The Men Who Built America is the idea of the American Dream. Many of the men profiled on the show came from humble beginnings and worked their way up through hard work, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit. Despite facing numerous obstacles, they were able to create vast fortunes and leave lasting legacies that continue to shape the world today.

The show also highlights the darker side of the business world during this time period. Viewers see how these men often engaged in cutthroat tactics and ruthless competition in order to gain market share and eliminate their competitors. They also learn about the labor struggles and social upheavals that accompanied the rise of industrial capitalism in America, as workers fought for better conditions and greater rights.

In addition to Campbell Scott, The Men Who Built America features commentary from a range of experts and historians, including H.W. Brands, author of The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, and Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Their insights, combined with the engaging storytelling and high-quality production values, make the show a must-watch for anyone interested in American history, business, or economics.

Overall, The Men Who Built America is a compelling and entertaining look at a pivotal period in American history, featuring some of the most fascinating and influential figures of the era. With its mix of documentary footage and dramatic reenactments, the show brings these larger-than-life characters to vivid life, offering a unique perspective on the forces that shaped the world we live in today.

The Men Who Built America is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (9 episodes). The series first aired on October 7, 2012.

The Men Who Built America
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The New Machine
8. The New Machine
November 11, 2012
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.
Taking the White House
7. Taking the White House
November 11, 2012
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.
When One Ends, Another Begins
6. When One Ends, Another Begins
November 11, 2012
Railroads, oil, steel and electricity have all been harnessed in less than 50 years, but the face of America is forever changing.
Owning It All
5. Owning It All
October 30, 2012
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.
Blood Is Spilled
4. Blood Is Spilled
October 23, 2012
Carnegie hires a hatchet man, Henry Frick, to help him achieve his goal of besting Rockefellar. The partnership seems promising, but Carnegie does not know that Frick is running his factories far beyond capacity. Frick cuts corners and soon the pair is responsible for the biggest manmade disaster America has ever seen: the Johnstown flood, which claims more than 2000 lives. Carnegie hates being disliked, and his initial impetus to seek revenge becomes the furthest thing from his mind.
Changing the Game
3. Changing the Game
October 30, 2012
Andrew Carnegie immigrates to the United States with his parents and starts working at age 12. He finds a patron in railroad executive Tom Scott who teaches him about the business. By age 30, while already running his own business, Scott hires him to build a bridge over the Mississippi river to link East and West in a way never before thought possible by train. Carnegie agrees, but doesn t know how he ll build a bridge strong enough. Carnegie's doubt is quelled when he finds his answer in steel. Before Carnegie realizes the full potential of steel, his mentor Scott dies in a state of humiliation at the hands of John D. Rockefeller s oil pipeline. Carnegie vows to have his revenge and best Rockefeller.
Bloody Battles
2. Bloody Battles
October 23, 2012
In the aftermath of the Civil War, America attempts to build up the country. While much of the growth is driven by railroads and oil, it's built using steel.
A New War Begins
1. A New War Begins
October 16, 2012
Cornelius Vanderbilt invests in the railroad industry; John D. Rockefeller builds a massive oil pipeline.
Season 1: Sneak Peek
0. Season 1: Sneak Peek
October 7, 2012
The Men Who Built America premieres on Tuesday, October 16 at 9/8c, but a special sneak peek is available now!
Where to Watch The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America is available for streaming on the History website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Men Who Built America on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu and History Vault, Sling, Hoopla, Apple TV and History.
  • Premiere Date
    October 7, 2012
  • IMDB Rating
    8.5  (4,630)