When, in the early nineteenth century, the United States developed a need for civil engineers, there were conflicting ideas about the best professional qualifications. Should the men who were building canals, railroads, and bridges be practical craftsmen; gentlemen and entrepreneurs whose knowledge of engineering was incidental to their ambitions; or professionals imported from Europe? What finally emerged was the organizational engineer, trained within exsisting business or governmental working units.
The American Civil Engineer considers the careers of engineers from the late 1700's through the 1840's. Mr. Calhoun discusses the engineer's tasks, the creation of a pool of technicians, and the profession's historical growth.