Industrialization After The Civil War Essay

1698 words - 7 pages

Industrialization After the Civil War
Angela Collier
HIS 105 Contemporary U.S. History
Professor Adam McBride
Strayer University
July 31, 2015

Industrialization After the Civil War
Modern economic growth in the United States was brought about by industrialization. Industrialization in the United States occurred in two phases. The first phase was between 1820 and 1840, which began in New England, whereas the second phase occurred between 1850 and 1920 in which mechanized production proliferated. Industrialization in the second phase initiated some of the most significant changes in the lives of Americans. These changes occurred in American society, economy, and ...view middle of the document...

Two distinct generations of workers lived in many industrial communities between the end of the nineteenth century and the 1920s. The first group comprised native-born and “old” immigrant workers and their families from Britain, Germany, Ireland, and a few from Scandinavia (Barrett, 1992). At the turn of the century, immigrant workers came from Eastern and South-eastern Europe. This new generation of workers were joined by blacks and Mexicans to create a new working class population. Only a few of these workers were recently uprooted from agricultural work and lands and had to adjust to their new lives in the city (Barrett, 1992).
Developments in the Manufacturing Belts
According to Jaremski (2014), “workers in textile mills, iron foundries, and locomotive works laid the foundation for an industrial revolution by developing new production techniques and technology” (Thomson, 2009, cited in Jaremski, 2014, p.109). Before the Civil War (1861–1865), most manufacturing firms were concentrated in the Northeast. After the Civil War, many new establishments were located in the Midwest and Middle Atlantic portions of the manufacturing belt and mechanized their production processes (Jaremski, 2014).
The introduction of the steam engine increased the ratio of capital output in the 1870s. Moreover, the average factory size also doubled between 1869 and 1889 (Jaremski, 2014). Although manufacturing output did not expand immediately, intensified capital investments established and maintained the United States the leading producer of manufactured goods in the world (Jaremski, 2014). Firms across the manufacturing belt also invested substantially in capital goods, and the adoption of steam engines increased the scale of production (Jaremski, 2014).
In a span of a few decades, the industrial revolution transformed the United States from a rural agrarian society into an industrial economy cantered in large metropolitan cities. Before industrialization, most Americans grew up in isolated agricultural households and small towns that were linked to the outside world by horse drawn wagons (Hirschman & Mogford, 2009). Except for some towns and communities that were connected to railroads and docks, the isolation and the cost of land transportation implied that many rural communities were self-sufficient. However, this situation changed when low cost manufactured goods created a consumer revolution in rural and urban households (Hirschman & Mogford, 2009). The expansion of national railroad networks and highways resulted in the marketing and transporting of manufactured goods. Moreover, half of Northern farms had automobiles and telephones. These changes were the direct effect of the American industrial revolution that was founded on rising investment, employment, and productivity of the manufacturing sector (Hirschman & Mogford, 2009). By 1880, most agricultural frontiers had disappeared and nearly half of American workers remained as farmers, and...

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