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George Fachini
George Fachini

How America’s Industrial Titans Fought For Power And Glory In The 19th Century

Blood, Money and Steel: The Epic Saga of the Men Who Shaped a Nation

If you are interested in the history of American capitalism and how it was forged by a handful of visionary and ruthless entrepreneurs, you might want to watch The Men Who Built America, a documentary series that aired on the History Channel in 2012. The series tells the story of how four men - John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford - transformed the United States from a divided and recovering nation after the Civil War into the greatest economic and technological superpower the world had ever seen.

How America’s Industrial Titans Fought for Power and Glory in the 19th Century

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In this article, we will focus on the second episode of the series, titled Bloody Battles, which covers the period from 1865 to 1892. This episode shows how these men faced fierce competition, violent conflicts and political challenges as they expanded their empires of oil, steel, railroads and finance.

Rockefellers Oil Strike

The episode begins with John D. Rockefeller, who was born into a poor family in New York and became obsessed with making money at a young age. He saw an opportunity in the oil industry, which was booming after Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859. Oil was used to produce kerosene, a cheap and clean fuel for lighting.

Rockefeller realized that the key to success was not in drilling for oil, but in refining it. He founded Standard Oil in 1870 and quickly gained control of 90% of the oil refining business in America. He did this by using ruthless tactics such as undercutting his competitors prices, bribing politicians and railroads, and forming secret alliances and trusts. He also invested heavily in research and innovation, improving the quality and efficiency of his products.

Rockefellers monopoly made him the richest man in America, but also earned him many enemies. One of them was Thomas Scott, a railroad tycoon who owned the Pennsylvania Railroad, which transported most of the oil from the fields to the refineries. Scott wanted to break Rockefellers grip on the oil market by building his own pipeline across Pennsylvania. He enlisted the help of another oil magnate, John W. Gates, who had made a fortune by selling barbed wire to ranchers in the West.

Carnegies Steel Empire

The next segment of the episode introduces Andrew Carnegie, who was born into a poor family in Scotland and immigrated to America with his parents when he was 13 years old. He started working as a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad and quickly rose through the ranks thanks to his intelligence and ambition. He learned from his mentor, Thomas Scott, how to invest wisely and diversify his interests.

Carnegie saw an opportunity in the steel industry, which was growing rapidly due to the demand for stronger and lighter materials for bridges, buildings and railroads. He founded Carnegie Steel in 1873 and built his first steel plant in Pittsburgh. He used a new process called the Bessemer process, which allowed him to produce steel faster and cheaper than his competitors. He also hired talented engineers and managers, such as Henry Clay Frick, who helped him expand his production and sales.

Carnegies steel empire made him one of the richest men in America, but also brought him into conflict with Rockefeller. Rockefeller saw steel as a threat to his oil business, since steel pipes could replace wooden barrels for transporting oil. He decided to enter the steel industry himself by buying out some of Carnegies rivals. He also tried to sabotage Carnegies business by cutting off his access to coal and iron ore, which were essential raw materials for making steel.

Morgans Financial Power

The third part of the episode features J.P. Morgan, who was born into a wealthy banking family in Connecticut and inherited his fathers business at a young age. He became one of the most powerful financiers in America, lending money to governments, corporations and individuals. He had a reputation for being ruthless, secretive and manipulative.

Morgan saw an opportunity in the electricity industry, which was emerging as a new source of power and light for homes and businesses. He invested in Thomas Edisons company, Edison Electric Light Company, which used direct current (DC) to distribute electricity. However, he faced competition from another inventor, Nikola Tesla, who 04f6b60f66


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