Influence of Industrialization on Economy of United States


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AbstractIndustrialization in the United States changed the entire economy. Everything was growing rapidly with people and new inventions. Some of the major industries with new inventions were railroads, oil, cotton and steel. Each industry had a great impact on United States. Railroads made it possible to travel across the country as well as ship products. Oil became very important with its many discoveries of uses. Cotton was the main industry in the South and production increased with the invention of the cotton gin. When steel was invented from iron, people were able to built better bridges, buildings and railroad tracks. The rapid growth of these industries during the Industrial Revolution has re-shaped America.

IndustrializationThe mid 1800s to the early 1900s were the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Life in the United States was chaotic and unpredictable. Everyone had their own ideas and the possibilities were endless. Everything was new and undiscovered. Americans were anxious to reap the benefits that industrialization brought to the United States. A turning point in American history was the invention of railroads, oil refineries, cotton factories, and steel. The world had forever changed when American learned to use these major industries to their advantage. Suddenly, it did not take months to get from point A to point B. Rockefeller would soon change the oil industry, finding many undiscovered uses for oil. The cotton industry became lucrative as textile mills began flourishing. In 1873, Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Steel Company. He was one of the most recognized names in the world since the use of steel would become extremely useful in industry and everyday life. When the railroads first became popular, anyone who wanted a railroad and had the money would build a railroad. If cattle farmers in Austin, Texas, needed to get their cattle from Austin to Amarillo, they would build a railroad. Tracks were not interconnected and were not usable by anyone else for any other purpose. When everyone finished building their own railroad, for their own use, they did not interconnect with each other. The railroads were all different sizes. The landscape of America looked like a tangled mess that had no order with so many different railroads.The Transcontinental railroad was a new beginning for industrialism. The possibility of a railroad leading to the Pacific Ocean pondered for many years and even discussed by congress. According to History of Railroads and maps, œChief promoter of a transcontinental railroad was Asa Whitney, a New York merchant active in the China trade who was obsessed with the idea of a railroad to the Pacific. His idea was that immigrant workers could build the railroad and that they should be paid in land. The immigrants would settle along the railroad and become patrons of the completed line. When he suggested this idea to Congress, they dismissed it. However, the discovery of gold and the success of the eastern railroads peaked peoples interest in building a railroad even more. In 1853, Congress allotted $150,000 for finding a feasible route for the railroad and work began shortly thereafter.

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The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco asserts that, œLeland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins were the œBig Four that conceived this enterprise and brought it to a successful ending after years of daily struggle that would have exhausted the patience and spirit of ordinary men (œDriving the Last Spike, 1925).When the Transcontinental railroad was being formed, American had no idea of the impact that it would have on the economy. The new railroad was formed as a way to get from the east coast to the west coat, but it did not take long before railroads were used for more than transportation. It was used to haul everything such as cattle, foods, oil, and iron. A trip from the West coast to the East coast that once took six months, only took six days on the new railroad. The railroad was not the only industry changing during this time period.Coal was the main energy source of industry before the discovery of oil. This continued for decades and it seemed as though nothing could diminish the importance of coal until after World War I, when fuel petroleum was developed. It was a tough battle against powerful coal lobbyists, but it soon became obvious that changing from coal to cleaner burning fuel was more beneficial than the political clout of the coal lobbyists. Oil, steel, and electricity soon began to rule during this period and were greatly influenced by the development of the Transcontinental Railroad. John D. Rockefeller created the South Improvement Co. in 1872, forming a union between Standard Oil and smaller refineries in Cleveland. Standard Oil was using the railroads to transport large amounts of cargo on a daily basis. The railroads reached an agreement with Rockefeller to set high freight rates and offer rebates to members of South Improvement Company.

Competition between railroad companies was eliminated and many small refineries were forced out of business. As a result of three months of public protest, the railroads and Standard Oil cancelled their arrangement. By then, most of the competitors in Cleveland had already sold out to Standard Oil, giving it a 90% share of the refineries in the U.S. In the mid 1800s the main thing that oil was used for was kerosene, and the rest of it was basically waste, until John D. Rockefeller came along. He found a use for every part of the oil. Crude oil was distilled to provide lubricants to grease and oil the machines used in industry. John Rockefeller founded Standard Oil and dominated the industry when he bought up most of the smaller refineries until he controlled 90% of the oil refining business in the U.S. After the 1876 invention of a practical internal combustion engine, which burned gasoline inside of it, oil started to be used for many things including automobiles, and the synthetic rubber used to make the tires on them. Oil has come to be the most important commodity of modern times. It has become the major source of energy for industry from generating electricity to run machines, and fuel for transporting goods to consumers. Oil and its byproducts are used in our daily lives including medicine, make-up, detergents used to wash our dishes, and the material in the clothes we wear. Not only is oil used in manufacturing these products, but also in the agriculture industry for fertilizers and pesticides. Industry is the catalyst for development and growth, and it is fueled by oil. To this point in time industrial progress depends on a continuous supply of oil, and the demand is increasing daily. Railroads and oil were not the only industries that were part of the industrial revolution. The cotton industry was very important to the United States industrialization. This industry in the United States began as early as the 1700s.

In the mid 1800s cotton production had increased profits for farmers and businesses in the southern states. By the 1900s, the United States cotton industry was growing and became very profitable. Cotton is a plant that grows in the tropical region and needs a lot of rain. However, in the United States, cotton has successfully grown in warm climates which rain comes often. Most of the cotton was grown in southern states. Cotton grew well in Louisiana since the ground was fertile and moist. The cotton plant is part of the œgenus Gossypium of the mallow family (Solomon, 2004). The plant is shrubby with three lobed leaves and with seeds that grows inside the plant. These seeds are encircled with white or creamy color fibers that can be easily spun into cloth. The cotton fiber is used in manufactures to make cloth. Preparing cotton for the factories is the hardest labor since the seeds had to be separated from the cotton fibers. In America before the Civil War, cotton was the main agriculture in the South. Slaves were used to pick cotton in the fields and worked long hours usually from dawn to dusk picking cotton in the fields. The workers would carry two bags in the field with straps attached and suspended from their waists or shoulders. These bags will have to be filled with cotton and placed in baskets. Once the baskets were full, and then they are loaded on wagons. Each worker was expected to pick at least 150 to 200 pounds of cotton a day. The cotton had to be picked very clean without too much dirt or trash in the bags.

The women and children were the most favored in picking cotton because they could pick cleaner cotton than men (œSlavery in America, 2004).In 1793, the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney, which changed the cotton industry. This invention increased the cotton production in the United States and was a very important part of the industrialization. There were more jobs created for people to work in factories or cotton mills. The cotton gin invention separated the seeds from the cotton fiber that grows inside of the plant. Daily, the cotton gins would process more cotton per day than slaves whom manually separate the seeds from the cotton fiber. Once the cotton was ginned, it was then packaged and ready to be shipped or sent to the cotton mills. Large cotton mills were built throughout the southern states. In the cotton mills, the cotton was loomed and weaved into clothing materials.After the cotton gin invention, cotton plantation farms and productions quickly spread throughout the South. As a result, the cost of slaves increased. Many plantation owners were placing more slaves in the fields to work and pick the cotton. Once the cotton was picked in the fields, it then goes the cotton gins for separation. The cotton gin development created a huge demand for slaves to labor in the fields. Also, there were more jobs created for people to work in the cotton mill factories. Most of the people who worked in the cotton gins and mills were children. The children would work long hours in the factories operating the cotton gin, spinning the cotton and preparing the cotton for packaging.Even in todays society, the cotton gin and mills are still used to separate the cottonseeds from the cotton fibers. œToday, gins must not only separate the seed from the fiber, they must also dry and clean the fiber and package it into bales before it reaches the textile mill (œHistory of Cotton, 2001). The cotton gin techniques have changed to keep up with the society today. This change has helped to increase the cotton production.With out the use of steel the cotton mills and larger cotton gins could not have been built.

America became the world’s leading nation during the industrial revolution; according to WordIQ, steel has played a big role in the making of America. Steel has a played a big part of some of the greatest achievements in history. The discovery of the railroads and steams boats helped people reach their destination by land or by sea. Steel is the backbone of this nation. There was a man by the name of Andrew Carnegie; he set sail with his family from Scotland to America known as the land of opportunity. Little did Andrew know that he would be one of the richest men in the world. He made his fortune in steel. Andrew Carnegie was a brilliant man whom developed a system vertical integration; which is cutting out the middleman (œAndrew Carnegie, 2004). Andrew was truly a businessman in order to save a profit. He would purchase iron mines and coal mines. He felt by using independent companies it would cost his company too much money and it was not sufficient for him by his standards. By purchasing the mines he would be able to undersell his competitors. (Study world 2004)Andrew had a passion for technology. He made every effort to bring down costs and undersell the competition. He made his steel mines the most modern steel mines in theworld (œCarnegie, Andrew, 2004). By 1900, Carnegie made steel affordable so bridges and skyscrapers could be built without costing a lot of money.

The steel industry was growing rapidly. The use of steel was in demand there where more jobs available for the working class citizens. Working in the steel mills was not an easy job. The demanding conditions sucked the life from workers. “You don’t notice any old men here,” said a Homestead laborer in 1894. “The long hours, the strain, and the sudden changes of temperature use a man up.” Sociologist John A. Fitch called it “old age at forty.”The hours working in the mines was hard and grueling, the workers where paid low wages. The women and children were favored to work in the mines because there hands are small enough to work the machinery. A census taken in the 1900s stated that about two million children working in the mines, fields, mills, factories, stores and on the city streets. The labor laws did not change for the children until 1916. Help was on the way for young working children and that help was called the Keating-Owen Bill Child Labor Act of 1916. This bill was the first created especially for children. It helped to get the children out of the work force and stopped the sale of any products in the mine for children under the age of 14.

Also, this bill stopped the children under the age of 16 working at night and they where not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day. President Woodrow Wilson passed this bill. (œKeating “ Owen Child Labor Act of 1916, 2004). The children could crawl in to the small spaces that the men could not so they became very useful in the mines. Sometimes the children would work up to sixteen hours in day. It was a sad time for children during the industrial revolution. At this time, the children did not have any rights or laws for working the workplace. While working in the mines some of the children did not live pass the age of ten. ( The children died at a young age due to the conditions in the mines and extreme working hours. During the 1890s Andrew Carnegie paid his worker 10 dollars a week, 500 dollars a year, and the workers lived above the poverty line (œCarnegie, Andrew, 2004).

Carnegie was a man of vision. He used his own ideas to change modern chemistry and improved his products to increase productivity for the average worker. He set his own standards for the entire iron and steel industry. He forced this industry to adopt his methods to run their company with a better quality of working conditions for the entire American economy. Andrew Carnegie sold steel at an affordable rate to the average businessman. So they could afford the steel to increase the productivity of railroads, and many other industries (Poole, 1999). This became one of his greatest accomplishments to the industrial revolution.

The Industrial Revolution changed industries in the United States such as railroad, coal, oil, cotton and steel. Changes in each of these industries have greatly effected the United States economy with new inventions and increase in productions. The expansion and connection of railroads impact transportation across the United States. People were able to travel in days versus months. The discovery of oil was important when new uses were developed. The invention of the cotton gin increased cotton production in the South. The invention of steel from iron has helped America built new objects. The rapid growth of industrialization has re-shaped the United States economy.

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