The Impact of Engineering Ethics on the Development of Modern Civil Engineering Practice, 1776-1976

by Glenn R. Koepp, (A.M.ASCE), Civ. Engr.; Mead and Hunt, Inc., Madison, Wisc.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 1, Pg. 1-4

Document Type: Journal Paper


Engineering ethics is a system of values that forms the ground rules by which we practice our profession. These values are determined by ideals, priorities, authority, power, needs, and individual morals. Our nation's first 200 years can be divided into four periods showing the development of today's ethics. The period 1776-1850 marked the beginning of a new nation which had an absolute code of personal morality based on the Ten Commandments and Christian teaching on faith, hope and charity. From 1850-1900, there was a strong feeling of civic-mindedness in applying a rapidly increasing knowledge of technology. From 1900-1950, there were numerous laws passed to regulate unethical business practices by many of the large corporations. The last 26 years of United States history show an increased trend toward promoting personal goals and in the distrust of one's fellow man.

Subject Headings: Ethics | Systems engineering | Standards and codes | Business administration | Corporations | Engineering history | History | United States

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