The Men Who Built America Project Benjamin Meso

I decided to go a different way with this project making it about a video series that I truly believe everyone should watch. The title of this series as many might have already guessed from the title of the page is, “The Men Who Built America”. This short series consist of four episodes lasting around an hour and a half to two hours an episode. The series is produced by the History Channel, but was written by Stephen David, Patrick Reams, Randy Counsman, David C. White, Keith Palmer, Ed Fields. It was directed unbelievably well by Patrick Reams, and Ruán Magan. But the best part was by Campbell Scott who narrated the series for the History Channel. The series was first aired in 2012 on the History Channel. For anyone that would like to watch it, and learn about the history of American business and economy it can be found on Netflix, YouTube, or to purchase online.

The main points in this video series is the development of American business men that became the richest men in the world by dominating the competition by any means necessary before all the regulations of the government came in place to break up the monopolies these companies formed. They focus on a couple of the richest men to every live and how they got that wealth, The main figures they focus on are Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. Henry Ford was a little bit different from the rest of those guys in the way that he was coming into his own businessman, as the others were fading and having their companies broken up. The others monopolies being John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan companies were broken up and that help Henry Ford come in later on in the era to stop cars from being patented and a monopoly. So the video series is about the rise and the build of these monopolies to the fall and the end of the lives of these tycoon businessmen.

The writer’s in this video series were trying to make it clear that these men were brilliant businessmen, which created fortunes that we may never see again. Throughout the series they also made it very abundantly clear that these companies built by John D. Rockefeller who owned standard oil, Andrew Carnegie who owned U.S. Steel then sold it to Morgan, J.P. Morgan and then Morgan who owned General Electric and the House of Morgan investing. None of these men’s companies would have been as powerful today as they were back then, for the simple reason that we are not aloud to have monopolies or use the tactics they did to buy other companies and manipulate the stock market. The author painted the picture, as it was a game to them at a certain point because they all had so much money. It wasn’t about the money anymore it was about winning and losing in who could beat the other guy in their rivalries for the richest man in the world. At the end of the lives of what I would call the big three, being John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan they all showed how they gave most of their money away to charities. Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller gave more of their money away then J.P. Morgan who died in his sleep in his late 70’s. And philanthropy even became a competition between Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller won that competition as he lived 13 years longer and had more money to give away. So although these men were hated for their business antics, America would have never been what it was without them. Is there a place for these types of men who buy presidents and create monopolies in the country? No but where would we be without them.

The facts that I really found most interesting are the pure amount of wealth that these men accomplished and how most of them came from absolutely nothing. John D. Rockefeller had an unbelievable amount of money and with inflation his net worth in the modern day would be around 660 Billion. Standard Oil was broken up into 37 different companies, which he held a majority shares in all of them. A Something that might surprise people to hear is that these modern day gas companies were made by the monopoly split that John D. Rockefeller had majority shares in. Some of these companies are Amoco, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, Sunoco, and Citgo. Do those companies sound familiar? Well they should if you have a car and fill it up with gas, those all are because of John D. Rockefeller. Now lets talk about J.P. Morgan for a minute, I’m sure everyone has heard his name and the investment company. He didn’t grow up with the tough poor life that the other grow up with, His father was a major investment guy at they time that was very respected in the United Kingdom and in the United States. They lived in New York, J.P. although he had a privileged life his father had him balancing investment books by ten years old. As he grew up he was the President of his fathers in company the house of Morgan’s. Although J.P. later bought companies, and made a monopoly with general Electric and bought out U.S. Steel from Andrew Carnegie. The interesting facts is that he loaned the United State government 110 million at the time which would be 3 billion in the modern day world. No one would loan the United States government 3 billion dollars in today’s world so it showed his confidence, and his national pride in America. He did this so the economy wouldn’t go down. Now he did benefit from a good economy but still that’s a lot of money to loan to your government.

Here I have posted two videos about two different men that relate to the video series. The First video is a guy named T. Boone Pickens as he does and interview about his ideas on energy and his book as well that he wrote. The name of that book is the first billion is the hardest, if you couldn’t guess by the title the man is a billionaire businessman the made his money in oil. The second guy is a man that is running for President of the United States of America, that’s right Donald Trump. And it is just about his life and his story of how he made it.

Heres the Links to the videos:

T. Boone Pickens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3zZ2bX0YeM

Donald Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_ZOYyjH5eM

I picked these two fine men for the reason that they relate in a way to what I like to call the big three of the show John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan. Trump to me is a mix between J.P. Morgan in that his father was successful so he didn’t start from the bottom like others did. Like Morgan Trump elevated his dad’s wealth and surpassed him, Morgan was really into political things as well and loaned the government 3 billion dollars. Trump instead wants to be president and get us out of our huge trillion-dollar debt that we are in as a nation. Andrew Carnegie is who Trump says he looks up to the most in the video series because Carnegie made most modern day buildings with his steel and Trump does real estate. Now John D. Rockefeller, and T. Boone Pickens are very similar in that they both grew up poor and made their vast amount of wealth in the oil and energy field so it was a natural comparison to me. Although the way these men were making their money and the poor working conditions those workers had to go through. I really loved learning about these guys and was rooting for them. Monopolies are a terrible thing but it was truly amazing how much power, control and wealth that they obtained and the ways that they did it. It was like the wild west and true dog it dog world of capitalism. It did clearly show me why we need regulation on these companies. I hope that more people watch this video series, although its very long it is just amazing and will really show you how American business was created and shaped forever.