The BEST Episodes of The Men Who Built America

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Network: History

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, they led the way. Using state of the art computer generated imagery that incorporates 12 million historical negatives, many made available for the first time by the Library of Congress, this series will bring back to life the world they knew and the one they created. The event series will show how these men took a failed experiment in democracy and created the greatest superpower the world has ever seen. We see how their historic achievements came to create the America of today.

Bloody Battles

#1 - Bloody Battles

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 23, 2012

As it recovers from the Civil War, America undertakes the largest building phase of the country s history. While much of the growth is driven by railroads and oil, it's built using steel.

star 8.01
210 votes
Directors: Patrick Reams
When One Ends, Another Begins

#2 - When One Ends, Another Begins

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Nov 11, 2012

Railroads, oil, steel and electricity have all been harnessed in less than 50 years, but the face of America is changing and will never be the same.

star 7.99
244 votes
Directors: Patrick Reams
A New War Begins

#3 - A New War Begins

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 16, 2012

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.

star 7.91
348 votes
Directors: Patrick Reams
Changing the Game

#4 - Changing the Game

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 30, 2012

The steel and oil have forever changed the face of America, but they are just the beginning. JP Morgan arrives on the scene and expedites growth through finance.

star 7.89
264 votes
Directors: Patrick Reams
A New Rival Emerges

#5 - A New Rival Emerges

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 18, 2012

The revolt of his workers at the Homestead steelworks and the assassination attempt against his partner, the brutal Henry Frick, brought the king of steel, Andrew Carnegie, to a big challenge. The biggest danger Carnegie faces is called John Pierpont Morgan, then number one in the banking industry, who made his fortune by buying bankrupt businesses. He had the intuition that electricity had a future and, in the 1870s and 1880s, financed the work of Edison, to whom he asked to build power plants to light up New York. But it aims bigger: to provide electricity throughout the country. The invention of alternating current by Tesla, Edison's assistant, in 1884, more reliable than direct current, thwarts his monopoly project and threatens his empire.

star 7.33
3 votes
A Market to Conquer

#6 - A Market to Conquer

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 25, 2012

Disgusted that the alternating current, the invention of Nikola Tesla, supplants the direct current which he had developed, Thomas Edison devotes himself to the manufacture of the first electric chair. In 1882, the first public attempt tarnished the reputation of the inventor and that of JP Morgan. The businessman does not give up his plan to build an electricity empire and intends to win the contract for the hydroelectric plant of Niagara Falls to supply electricity in the northeast of the United States

star 7.33
3 votes
The American Dream

#7 - The American Dream

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 8, 2012

At the head of the United States from 1901 to 1909, Roosevelt continued his anti-trust policy. After the empire of the banker and industrialist JP Morgan, he tackled the Standard Oil of John D. Rockefeller. At the start of the 20th century, a new generation of businessmen was gradually emerging, particularly with the emergence of the automotive sector. Henry Ford manages to find investors to produce the first car accessible to the general public: the T model. The implementation of the production method he invented, the assembly line, in the early 1910s, revolutionized the industry American by promoting mass consumption. He becomes one of the richest businessmen in the world.

star 7.33
3 votes
Control of the White House

#8 - Control of the White House

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 1, 2012

In 1896, as the presidential election approached, the democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan echoed the anger of the American people, promising to hold the elites to account and to dismantle the trusts. The three titans of American industry, JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, worry and finance the campaign of the republican candidate William McKinley, won over to their cause. McKinley is elected and the business of JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie resumes. On September 14, 1901, William McKinley, who was re-elected, was assassinated by an anarchist worker. Vice-president Theodore Roosevelt takes the reins of power and attacks trusts.

star 7.00
3 votes