The Other Half of History Daily Blog

Thoughts on modern politics from a historical perspective.

An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 21

This is the twenty-first in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post # 21: Tom Scott’s Business Goes Up in Flames

Thomas Alexander Scott is an important figure in American business history, known both for his role as executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad (or “Pennsy,” as it was commonly known) and for his early mentor-ship of Andrew Carnegie. Scott was the railroad’s vice president for fourteen years, and took over as president upon the death of J. Edgar Thompson in 1874.
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An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 20

This is the twentieth in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post #20: The Race for the Telephone

In the year 1876 the United States celebrated its centennial in an atmosphere of rapid and uneven societal change. On June 25 and 26 of that year Indians killed “General” (actually Colonel) George Armstrong Custer and all his men at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory. On the 25th, the day the battle started, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated a working telephone at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
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An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 19

This is the nineteenth in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post #19: The Financial Panic of 1873

 The 1870’s were a  turbulent time for American businesses and workers. A financial panic that started late in 1873 precipitated a depression that sent dozens of banks and railroads into bankruptcy, and started an economic depression.
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An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 18

This is the eighteenth in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post #18: Andrew Carnegie Commits to Steel

Andrew Carnegie had eggs in many baskets in the late 1860’s. He invested his money, time, and considerable management and sales skills in companies that built sleeper cars, telegraph lines, and bridges. He helped found a company that made iron railroad rails and bridge parts. He also made a lot of money selling construction bonds and speculating in railroad stocks.
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An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 17

This is the seventeenth in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post #17: Railroad Economics and Rockefeller Oil

Railroads were an industry where great fortunes were made and lost in post-Civil War America. When Andrew Carnegie resigned his position with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1865 he was leaving the largest corporation in the world, a company with 30,000 employees and a capitalization of sixty-one million dollars. Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central was not far behind. By the early 1870’s eighty percent of the market capitalization of all American corporations was in railroad companies.

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