In this edition of The American Experience, viewers investigate the life and work of one of America's greatest engineers, James Eads. Eads, a largely self-educated man, built the first ironclads, designed steel bridges, and, in the culmination of his career, designed the system of dams, levees, and jetties that control the mighty Mississippi and make it navigable for commerce. To do this, he came into direct conflict with another man, Andrew Humphreys, head of the Army Corp of Engineers. Their struggle to control the future of the river mirrors in many ways the conflict between civil and military authority that rages along the river today. This program presents a complex portrait of a complicated man.
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