The Men Who Built America: Remembering The Gilded Age Part 1

Tyler Durden's picture

It is perhaps time to look back at what once was. In Part 1 of the 4 part History Channel series, a new war begins as out of the turmoil of the Civil War, America enters an age of enlightenment that will change the landscape of the country forever. The growth is driven by five insightful men who will change the world forever. John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan rose from obscurity and in the process built modern America. Their names hang on street signs, are etched into buildings and are a part of the fabric of history. These men created the American Dream and were the engine of capitalism as they transformed everything they touched in building the oil, rail, steel, shipping, automobile and finance industries. Their paths crossed repeatedly as they elected presidents, set economic policies and influenced major events of the 50 most formative years this country has ever known. From the Civil War to the Great Depression and World War I, for better or worse, they led the way.


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Kayman's picture


Sarcasm aside, you nailed it.

JOYFUL's picture

Yeah, I sometimes rue the tendency to understate my nuance is a tough play to the peanut gallery...

here's a catch up for the more febrile of the ism fetishists amongst us...

     the capitalism of your dreams is the fascism of your waking reality...

Hope that helps.

putaipan's picture

the fascism of my waking reality is capatilisms' worst nightmare....

myptofvu's picture

ACP is right because you still have "unscrupulous acts, monopolies, back room deals etc." with any other form of society ie: Socialism, Faschism, Crony Capitalism etc.. but with pure Capitalism at least you have producers doing it instead of the parasitic class. Lesser of two evils if you will.

Tango in the Blight's picture

Are Richard Branson and James Dyson nobleborn men?

ACP's picture

You can decide for yourself, per Wikipedia:

Richard Branson:

Branson was born in Blackheath, London, the son and eldest child of barrister Edward James Branson (10 March 1918 – 19 March 2011)[4] and Eve Huntley Branson (née Flindt).[4][5] His grandfather, the Right Honourable Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson, was a judge of the High Court of Justice and a Privy Councillor.[6] Branson was educated at Scaitcliffe School (now Bishopsgate School)[7] until the age of thirteen. He then attended Stowe School until the age of sixteen. Branson has dyslexia and had poor academic performance as a student, but later discovered his ability to connect with others.[8]

James Dyson:

Dyson was born in Cromer, Norfolk, England, being one of three children. Dyson was sent to Gresham's School,a boarding school, Holt, Norfolk, from 1956 to 1965, when his father died of cancer.[2] James excelled in long distance running: "I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learnt determination from it."[3] He spent one year (1965–1966) at the Byam Shaw School of Art (now part of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design), and then studied furniture and interior design at the Royal College of Art (1966–1970) before moving into engineering.[citation needed]

Henry Ford:

Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on a farm in Greenfield Township, Michigan.[2] His father, William Ford (1826–1905), was born in County Cork, Ireland, in a family that was originally from western England.[citation needed] His mother, Mary Litogot Ford (1839–1876), was born in Michigan as the youngest child of Belgian immigrants; her parents died when she was a child and she was adopted by neighbors, the O'Herns. Henry Ford's siblings were Margaret Ford (1867–1938); Jane Ford (c. 1868–1945); William Ford (1871–1917) and Robert Ford (1873–1934).

His father gave him a pocket watch in his early teens. At 15, Ford dismantled and reassembled the timepieces of friends and neighbors dozens of times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman.[3] At twenty, Ford walked four miles to their Episcopal church every Sunday.[4]

Ford was devastated when his mother died in 1876. His father expected him to eventually take over the family farm, but he despised farm work. He later wrote, "I never had any particular love for the farm—it was the mother on the farm I loved."[5]

In 1879, he left home to work as an apprentice machinist in the city of Detroit, first with James F. Flower & Bros., and later with the Detroit Dry Dock Co. In 1882, he returned to Dearborn to work on the family farm, where he became adept at operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. He was later hired by Westinghouse company to service their steam engines. During this period Ford also studied bookkeeping at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business College in Detroit.[6]

Andrew Carnegie:

Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor which was shared with the neighboring weaver's family.[2] The main room served as a living room, dining room and bedroom.[2] He was named after his legal grandfather.[2] In 1836, the family moved to a larger house in Edgar Street (opposite Reid's Park), following the demand for more heavy damask from which his father, William Carnegie, benefited.[2] His uncle, George Lauder, whom he referred to as "Dod", introduced him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Falling on very hard times as a handloom weaver and with the country in starvation, William Carnegie decided to move with his family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life.[3] Andrew's family had to borrow money in order to migrate. Allegheny was a very poor area. His first job at age 13 in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week.[4] Andrew's father, William Carnegie, started off working in a cotton mill but then would earn money weaving and peddling linens. His mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie, earned money by binding shoes.


It seems to me the first two had quite the advantage over the last two.

midtowng's picture

The people who built America often have Irish, eastern European, and Chinese names. They were treated like dirt (or worse) and shot down by thugs hired by the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts.

GMadScientist's picture

They don't want to hear real labor is an affront to the fanciful notions with which they've filled their heads.

They've never contemtplated the realities of a one-company town that only takes scrip and will hire Pinkertons if you protest cutting your wages in half.

Talleyrand's picture

Well now, that may be a little harsh. I like to think that they simply bought enough government lackeys to erect a few barriers to entry  in order to establish and maintain their monopolies, oligopolies and cartels, then buy more politicians and bureaucrats. They were the pioneering giants of rent seeking. What's the issue?

Neethgie's picture

You are so full of shit you don't even realise just because crimes have been done in jpm name doesn't mean he's responsible unless dimon has a fucking seance going on, dude this people got mega rich but they also through opulence and deSIgn helped others achieve a better quality of life.

Or are you just here because Marxism ain't cool anymore and being contrarian is in atm

GMadScientist's picture

Why make the assumption that we couldn't have the better life without their opulence?

Neethgie's picture

You are so full of shit you don't even realise just because crimes have been done in jpm name doesn't mean he's responsible unless dimon has a fucking seance going on, dude this people got mega rich but they also through opulence and deSIgn helped others achieve a better quality of life.

Or are you just here because Marxism ain't cool anymore and being contrarian is in atm

Missiondweller's picture

Amazing what you can get done without unions and the EPA.

GMadScientist's picture

Amazing who you can get done with Pinkertons and a bought government.

OldPhart's picture

I actually find this film rather inspiring.

These men built their shit without government hand-outs, hired others and made their own empires on sheer grit and determination.  That IS the 'murican dream.

Everyone that bitches about backroom deals, government intervention, etc.  That shit exists today, in spades, and look at the shitstorm we're dealing with (or will be dealing with). I find it commendable that a simple idea, coupled with determination, created systems that we still have today.

The fact that they were asshats that made life miserable for everyone else became the impetus for dear ol' Teddy to start his trust busting and create the Progessive element of the fascist democrats/republicans we have today with the resultant, and imminent, social collapse.

Raw, nekkid capitalism created this country and made us a world power.  Government interventions have turned us into little more than global thugs ready and eager to drone ten year olds.  And we now have a population satisfied to elect thuggish morons that eye their constituents as terrorists.

What we need today are those people with the grim determination to view our corrupt, evil government as irrelevant and begin to apply themselves to needs that the rest of us are too fucking stupid to even conceive tesla power or a use for fuckin' tumbleweeds.

dark pools of soros's picture

Raw nekkid capitalism exists today in the form of Jesse Jane

Go long Diosa Tequila

And she told me she's taking over playboy channel from Hef

torabora's picture

One of my buds is obsessed with repurposing pine needles. They're out there.

WarriorClass's picture

The last of the Founders Republic having been destroyed by America's first dictactor, Abraham Lincoln, America was ripe for the plunder by the countries first facists.  Remember the Ludlow Massacre, carried out by the government owned by Rockefeller.


The rest, as they say, is history.

Shizzmoney's picture

I can't wait until we build the time machine, and then I can do a "Assassin's Creed" style cleaning of these plutocratic douchebag traitors.


Mrmojorisin515's picture

wrong friend, lincoln stole the republic

HedgeAccordingly's picture

great series! next it will be buffett all over the streets for our children -

Mercury's picture

Hey! I didn't know the History Channel still did history.

Skateboarder's picture

Nat Geo got watered down quite a ways also. Cringeworthy shit on the televisor these days.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Nat Geo? Psh. The "Learning" Channel, brings us Honey Boo Boo.

otto skorzeny's picture

you could at least count on the old history channel for some kickass"Secret Weapons of the Third Reich" or something

reader2010's picture

Modern capitalist nations are the fruit of a history of slavery, genocide, violence and exploitation every bit as abhorrent as Mao’s China or Stalin’s Soviet Union. Capitalism, too, was forged in blood and tears; it is just that it has survived long enough to forget about much of this horror…

- Terry Eagleton (1943 - ), British literary critic.

Clowns on Acid's picture

Terry was a typicxal, lefty apologist, pommie douchebag.


reader2010's picture

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) famously states,  "dare to use your own reason is the motto of enlightenment."

Dasa Slooofoot's picture

quote more people to show us how you're using your own 'reason'.  

Laser Shark's picture

The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never be certain they are genuine.

- Abraham Lincoln

TruthInSunshine's picture

 "Apple OS, Android, Microsoft...Android, Microsoft, Apple. As far as I'm concerned, any of these operating systems is capable of providing a means to implement accurate logistics for our Continental Army in our pursuit of defeating the British. I'd go so far as to state Linux is not only capable, as well, but maybe the most logical choice as it is the least vulnerable to hacking."

-- George Washington

   Remarks made in 1777, during the Battles of Saratoga

Optimusprime's picture

The (translated) quote from Kant, which I first read decades ago, is from his short essay, "What is Enlightenment?".  It is not reasonable to ignore what others have said and thought.  Do you know what "memorable" means?

reader2010's picture

I only quote some great thinkers here because of the existence of thinkpol.

newengland's picture

Socialist bull$shit. Fck the workers and makers, so the Socialist Internationale can put a jackboot on the face of mankind...paraphrasing Orwell, British political critic.

Big Slick's picture

'paraphrasing' is right.  I honestly don't know what point you are making.

THX 1178's picture

Newengand: Everybody wears jackboots these days... govt workers, banking cartel acolytes... EVERYONE. Private sector jackboot on your left cheek, public sector jackboot on your right. But sure keep playing into the left right paradigm... im sure you'll make it just fine in the world with an understanding like that.

James_Cole's picture

"Socialist bull$shit. Fck the workers and makers, so the Socialist Internationale can put a jackboot on the face of mankind...paraphrasing Orwell, British political critic."

Psst... don't anyone remind Newengand that Orwell was a vocal member of the labour party and self-identified as a socialist. 

GMadScientist's picture

Psssst....he was a double-agent for the fascists.


Frankie Carbone's picture

Just can't seem to let go of the Great False Dichotomy, can you? It's been beaten into your brain for so long by the Tee-Vee that there is simply no way to strip that macro out of your forebrain, is there?


THIS, is why we are fucked folks.

GMadScientist's picture

Vanderbilt and Carnegie were only "workers" of the system and "makers" of profits...and your sycophantic assumption that you can share their pie is misplaced and laughable.


Banksters's picture

Only the Best for J. P. Morgan


Then there was J. Pierpont Morgan, who came by his wealth honestly, having been born into it. When your father has made a name for himself in banking, you can be counted upon to get the finest business education in the country.

So when the Civil War came, he shelled out the $300 to buy a substitute to serve in his stead. While Morgan stayed home, evading military service and the draft, he made enormous profits by providing war materiel. The erstwhile benefactor bought 5,000 rifles for $3.50 each from an arsenal, and then turned around to provide them to a field general for $22.00 each. The cheap price he paid for them was due to a defective mechanism, since any unwitting soldier who attempted to fire one, lost his thumb. 


Fucking piece of shit through and through.   Money has a way of legitimizing complete scumbags.

Edward Fiatski's picture

What a great Entrepreneur. :)

GMadScientist's picture

Truly the Dick Cheney of his time.

Clycntct's picture

Free market forces-BOOM Thumbs optional.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

...........................................How about the History Channel does a Docu on ''DEBT MONEY'' that would be something I would watch...

Banksters's picture

The last thing the bankers want is for people to understand how they create money from nothing and get back labor, resources, land and liberty.  Fuckers.


Yep, fucking fed has 3 trillion dollars of assets through QE.   Where is Rod Serling?