Industrialization: The US Between 1865 and 1920 Essay
Industrialization is seen as one of the major milestones in the history of humanity as it shaped the way societies developed. Industrialization enabled many countries to become highly developed and prosperous, and the USA was one of the countries that benefited most from this period, as it turned from a colony into one of the most important players in the world arena (LaFeber, Polenberg & Woloch, 2015). It is possible to note that industrialization turned the United States into a corporate society where different groups differently contributed to and benefited from the development of the country’s economy that evolved at an unprecedented pace.
Major Aspects of Industrialization
It is possible to identify a number of major aspects of industrialization that had an impact on the development of US society. Industrialization shaped the country’s geographic features and removed major geographic obstacles as railroads united the most distant parts of the country. Railroads were important for the development of the industries and commerce as raw materials and goods could be easily delivered to numerous destinations (Schultz, 2014). Thus, the demand was increased, and mass production ensured that it was satisfied as Americans got the products they needed irrespective of distances.
The development of industries facilitated the creation of the corporate society as entrepreneurs developed new revolutionary business models. For instance, Andrew Carnegie was one of the first business people who created a corporation as he removed his competitors through acquisitions and mergers (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). His corporation included many businesses that ensured Carnegie’s leading position in lead production. Corporations turned into bodies that were seen as participants of legal operations with certain rights and responsibilities. Thus, the person was not the only subject when it came to various legal issues.
The political life of the country was also affected immensely. Americans started trusting the government that expanded its powers to new territories. Politicians could bring their agendas to distant parts of the country due to railroads. Politicians could reach more people. Clearly, large capitalists tried to affect decisions made and laws enacted, and they often succeeded in these undertakings (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). Nonetheless, it was clear that the government started focusing on many issues, including conditions of working people that translated into regulations and laws.
The Way Industrialization Affected Different Groups of Americans
Clearly, industrialization had a significant impact on Americans who were affected differently. A has been mentioned above, and entrepreneurs were becoming wealthier and more powerful. This was achieved at the expense of bankruptcy and the arduous work of millions. For instance, farmers can be seen as a group that was affected in the most significant way. Thus, prior to the construction of railroads, farmers produced their products and sold them locally. However, railroads enabled big farms to deliver their goods to various places, and small farms started facing significant financial constraints (LaFeber et al., 2015). As a result, many farmers went bankrupt and had to go to big cities to find employment to provide for their families.
Another group of Americans that felt the effects of industrialization was the working class. Working people were in a very difficult situation as they almost totally depended on large capitalists who exploited workers. Working Americans had to work long hours, they worked and lived in horrible, inhumane conditions, and they got minimum wages that were hard enough to buy food and clothes (Schultz, 2014). The conditions American workers found themselves in were partially due to urbanization as farmers joined working people and immigrants who were also competitors.
It is noteworthy that immigrants could be regarded as the most underprivileged class. They got even less money than American workers did, they often lived in ghettos (in crowded houses), and they were seen as aliens by everybody. Linguistic and cultural obstacles made it difficult for immigrants to enjoy at least the same rights as American workers did (LaVigne, 2008). It is also important to add that American workers often attacked immigrants as the former thought that the latter was the reason for economic issues the American society faced at that period.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that industrialization had an enormous effect on the development of US society. The country was united by a network of railroads that facilitated the development of industries and commerce. First corporations appeared in the United States. The economy of the country enabled it to become one of the leading countries in the world. At the same time, many Americans lived in horrible and even inhumane conditions. Farmers, workers, and immigrants can be seen as the most underprivileged classes whose contribution was still the most significant.
Hillstrom, K., & Hillstrom, L.C. (2007). The industrial revolution in America: Communications, agriculture and meatpacking, overview/comparison. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Web.
LaFeber, W., Polenberg, R., &Woloch, N. (2015). The American century: A history of the United States since the 1890s. New York, NY: Routledge. Web.
LaVigne, D.J. (2008). Immigrants. In J.L. Goloboy (Ed.), Industrial revolution: People and perspectives (pp. 139-161). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Web.
Schultz, K.M. (2014). HIST: US history since 1865. Chicago, IL: Cengage Learning. Web.
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