Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Astor, Ford and Morgan; the dominant names of those who built this nation during its infancy. Men, who had vision, drive, guts, determination, goals, and minds which captured the very essence of Capitalism. Men, who constructed entire industries out of their genius, powered and built America’s infrastructure, and made it into the wealthiest country in history. Men, who started from nothing, and became the richest on the planet without government help, or intervention; the creators, the ones who started it all, the leader’s who made our country the envy of the world.
There’s a new TV show on The History Channel entitled, “The Men Who Built America.” I recently watched the beginning episodes and was immediately hooked. It tells the story about each man from their humble beginnings, to the summit of their greatness. During each section, there are narrations from modern day business leaders giving their assessments, and explaining the mentalities behind each innovator. It’s a great program, and one I believe every American should take a look at. It delves into the history of how the use and popularity of oil came to be, how steel was developed and basically built America, how the railroads connected our population from coast-to-coast, how candlelight was replaced by the light bulb, and how the freedom to express and develop future ideas came into play.
Capitalism was a new concept during these times. Business leaders, like those listed above, didn’t always play by the rules and oftentimes the innocent were damaged as a result. There was competition among them at the highest levels, making the average American sometimes pay the price, spurring the need for certain rules and regulations to be written. But, these were the ones who employed the masses, lit the streets and homes, developed transportation, and carved the way for future generations of entrepreneurs to stake their fortunes, if they desired. They showed what we can do once the shackles of government intervention are loosened, the freedom of creativity is encouraged, and spirit of the American people is unleashed among the land. These business leaders made no apologies for their success, because success, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the freedom to take advantage of these principles are what make America, America. It’s what distinguishes us from the rest of the world. It’s what makes people from every corner of the globe want to cross our shores.
Technology has changed since Rockefeller’s oil and Vanderbilt’s railroads dominated the skyline. Although they still play an integral part in our economy, future generations must adapt to new products and lifestyle changes of the consumer. Computers and cell phones have revolutionized the way we think, and communicate. Alternative energy sources are being developed as our energy needs increase. What was once an American economy is now a global economy. But, just as it was during the days of Carnegie and Ford, there are virtually no limits to what a person can achieve if he/she has the vision, and desire to succeed. And regardless of evolving technology, entrepreneurial principles will always remain the same.
For America to be great, our businesses must be great. But, it’s going to take new leadership to continue their effectiveness. And right now, we are at a historic crossroad in our nation’s history.
In a few days, the American voter will decide which way our country turns. Will it be toward Socialism, a growing nanny state mentality, a huge government eager to clamp down and discourage entrepreneurial principles, a weaker military, a more fragile image among the world, a shakier dollar value with a growing national debt, a mentality of sitting back and letting others pay the bills; a mirror image of Greece, and other failed European economy’s. Or will it return to its foundations, its value systems, its job creation through sound pro-business leadership, a restoration to the belief that an individual can make use of his/her God-given abilities to take care of themselves, a smaller government which stays out of the way letting future Rockefellers and Henry Ford’s lead us back to greatness.
For myself, the choice is clear, because I always want America to succeed and prosper.
As for Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford, which candidate do you feel would get their vote?
Thanks for listening…