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Impact of the Age of Progress on the United States of America Today

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The nineteenth century also labeled as The Age of Progress. From the era of reconstruction to the end of the nineteenth century, the United States endured an economic transformation. In this time period there was a substantial amount of development going on in this country. However, the positive development did not shadow the fact that there was also a negative development airing too. Things were changing and they were not changing in the so called best ways, but because of those negative and positive changes it contributed to what and how The United States of America is today.

The progression and changing negative or positive that went on during the nineteenth century were the advancing of the industrial development, the new south, and immigration. Industrial development in the United States started before 1885. Original industries started to grow and so did new ones too. The types of industries that were expanded rapidly were; steel manufacturing and electrical power. The operation and development of railroads increased greatly because it brought different regions into the market economy. Industrial expansion transformed American society. It created a rich class of industrialists and a comfortable middle class. Industrial growth also produced a tremendously broaden blue collar working class. The labor force that built industrialization to be successful and possible was by millions of new immigrants that arrived to America. Many workers were most likely unemployed through a portion of the year, and their pay was relatively low when they were able to find a job. This situation drove many of workers to support and join labor unions. Likewise, farmers were also going through a hard time because of technology increasing and expanding production. The expansion of that led to a struggle and prices trickling down for farming products. The difficult times on the farms drove numbers of people to leave and pack to go to the city to find improved job opportunities. Besides that, there were quite a few famous inventions that were created during this time. These invention took America into whole new developmental direction. Some of these invention were electricity, the light bulb, the production of stronger steel by Henry Bessenter and Willam Kelly, internal combustion engine, the airplane, and radio invented by Marcani.

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Americans who were born a few decades before this period experienced drastic adjustments in their lives. These changes were from a soaring technological revolution. Anyone born before the 1870s, had a main source of light that would transition from hand lit candles, to oil lamps, next to electric light bulbs. Those people saw their transportation derive from walking and riding horseback to steam powered engine, to electric trolley cars, and then to gasoline powered automobiles.

The demand for a New South after Reconstruction was much needed and clear to see. The southern states lost prominence, riches, and property after their unsuccessful insurrection. Enslaved African Americans were finally free by law. The slaves depicted authority and riches of the South, and now they were emancipated. The emancipation of the slaves disturbed the South’s social order. When the government pursed to grant African Americans equal citizenship rights, relentless whites fought back. Because of their acrimony, fear, and resentment they lashed out. Not only did the racist whites lash out, they formed an organized terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan. They also showed what they were about through violent intimidation and political corruption.

White Southerners claimed back authority. They took advantage of their power to prohibit African Americans and passed Jim Crow laws that segregated schools, employment, transportation, and numerous facilities. White southerners also participated illegally to terrorize and threaten black communities. Lynchings were happening and blacks became their targets. On the political side there were restraints of African Americans being able to vote, because of that it concealed black voters. Whites were filling the ballot boxes and scaring black voters with economical and personal threats. Now, the states were making laws that demanded voters to pass literacy tests. Adequately denying African American men the fifteenth amendment. After the Civil War, immigrants started to come to the United States again. Through the 1870s and 1880s, the majority of the immigrants came from Ireland and Germany. There was also a considerable amount of Chinese that immigrated to the United States.

Hard economic times hit in the 1870s and Americans and other immigrants started to compete for the jobs that especially meant for the Chinese. Hatred and racial suspicion begun and so did anti-Chinese riots and pressure. The Irish were heavily discriminated as well. Signs would be put that would say “help wanted”, but Irish need to apply. The same occurrence happened to the Chinese when looking for work. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and this law blocked Chinese immigration and made it very hard for the Chinese to become naturalized citizens. The efforts to stop and restrict European immigration increased. The same year they passed the Chinese exclusion Act they also passed the Immigration Act. For the first time this law collected a head tax. The act also made various categories of immigrants unqualified to come into the United States they were categorized as undesirables.

In summary the United States went under major changes some changes positive and others negative. Society changed and life changed drastically when industrialization started to come along. There was also a great amount of structural change going on in the south with reconstruction for the new south. Lastly, immigration was a huge part of American society because of the tremendous amount of them that came into the United States looking for “better”. The progress and changes were the building blocks to a greater America.

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