Industrialization after Civil War
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American history is rich and in fact worth given attention. From 18[th] to 19[th] era, a lot of progress was established. Before the start of the Civil War, the most powerful group in America was the planter aristocracy in the Southern States. The events that followed the Civil War reversed the whole picture. A new group of determined, self-made men, made up of free farmers of the West, bold entrepreneurs of the North, and industrial capitalists of the Eastern cities, captured the reins of power. They took advantage of the new lands, natural resources, and railroads and they reinforced their political and economic interest. The true revolution in American came after the Civil War, when out of the ashes of the war emerged a new industrial giant and world power. The rise of industries, the end to slavery, and the new inventions all fostered the events that happened in America. This paper presents the industrialization that transpired from 1865 to 1920 following the Civil War.
Within half a century after the Civil War, the United States developed as an industrial country (Clark et al, 2008). Small industries grew into giant industries and domestic and foreign commerce prospered. Communication and transportation facilities emerged and soon exceeded those of European nations (Clark et al, 2008). America`s industrial production was augmented by big business, mass production, as well as good labor treatment.
The Industrial Revolution was a remarkable change in man`s life caused by the substitution of hand labor by machine work. The change emerged calmly, in the absence of violence or bloodshed. The first industry to use machinery was the cotton cloth manufacturing (Kuczynski, 1973). As compared to other businesses, the cotton industry was young. Hence, there was much room for invention and growth. Secondly, the profits were reliant on production in bulk. Thus, the producer making the most cloth reaped the most profits. Better methods of communication expanded as an outcome of the industrial revolution. In 1866, Cyrus Field, a New York merchant, became successful in developing the primary underwater submarine telegraph cable (Kim, 2007). Ten years later, Alexander Graham Bell, a Scot-born American, invented the telephone. Guglielmo Marconi invented the wireless telegraph in 1894 (Kim, 2007). In recent times came radio and television which enables us to hear and see musical programs, movies, and events in all parts of the world.
Further enhancement in communication has been realized with the marvelous growth of the newspaper due to the invention of the linotype machine, rotary press, and teletype (Kim, 2007). With the millions of copies of newspapers published daily and with the improved facilities of communication and transportation, all nations have come to know and understand one another better than in ages past.
Similarly, during the industrial revolution, the agricultural revolution began. To boost production in agriculture, farmers adopted scientific means of cultivation through the use farm machinery (Kim, 2007). Further advances in agriculture were made with the discovery of new uses for farm products. An American Negro Scientist, George Washington Carver, a son of slaves, demonstrated that hundreds of new products could come from peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton stalks, and yellow pine trees.
So many and varied are the inventions which revolutionized man`s way of life that it would take several volumes to list them completely. Thomas Edison, the greatest American inventor, produced more than 1000 inventions (Kim, 2007). Notable among his inventions were the photographs, the electric light bulb, and the movies or motion pictures. Other inventions which have benefited mankind are the parachute by Andre-Jacques Garnerin stethoscope by Rene Laenec photography by Louis Daguere sewing machine by Howe, and many more.
The automobile and aviation industry soon entered the picture to revolutionize the transportation system. The first gasoline engine was invented by Daimler in 1883 (Kim, 2007). Thus the automobile was born. Years later, the diesel engine, using crude oil was invented by Rudolf Diesel. This engine, which is less costly to operate compared to a gasoline-powered machine, is now used in automobiles, trucks, ships, trains, and factories. Daimler`s automobile aroused the interest of daring pioneers in the automobile industry. The best known of them was Henry Ford, known as a bicycle mechanic in the past and established the Ford Motor Company. He produced automobiles by the mass production method so that millions of people could afford them. The discovery of rubber vulcanization in 1839 by Charles Goodyear contributed to the rise of the automobile industry.
The Wright brothers invented the first airplane and flew it successfully in 1903 in North Carolina. In 1900, Count Zeppelin invented a cigar-shaped balloon named after him. As an outcome of industrialization, world commerce enjoyed a tremendous increase. It is estimated that world trade doubled twelve times in the 19[th] century. The average share of each human being in wealth amounted in 1900 to a sum six times that in 1800.
Economic and Political Results of Industrialization
The industrial revolution produced good economic results such as the expansion of industries, increase of commerce and trade, growth of the number of individuals living in the country, establishment of cities, greater comforts as well as improved way of life, distribution of labor, and an amassing of wealth (Kuczynski, J., 1973). In terms of politics, the industrial revolution, through the existence of railway, newspaper, steamboat, and telegraph advanced nationalism, for it aided people in know better their fellowmen (Kuczynski, J., 1973). The industrial revolution likewise intensified globalization. The new methods of communication and transportation broke down the barriers of misunderstanding among countries (Kuczynski, J., 1973). People and ideas were transported across seas, mountains, and deserts. Different countries came to appreciate one another and understand the interdependence of countries and race.
Effects of Industrialization
The industrial revolution has been a great blessing to mankind. There is no doubt that machines and modern products help to save lives, ease pain, make life more comfortable, faster, and profitable for modern man. However, it has also been something of a curse. In many ways, people have become dehumanized and less caring with the use of modern machines. Human life and labor have become cheap as compared to the value of machines and tools. Company bosses prefer lots of automated machines and computers and lesser workers. Machines are regarded as more efficient and reliable than people. Sometimes, people become so fascinated with a new machine or tool like a computer that they play with it constantly like addicts. Children watch too much television and play video games and do not study their lessons anymore. Even parents watch more television than spend time with their children. Some philosophers say our world has become as cold and dead as the machines we like to use. People are treated like machines and are not given the proper dignity and care they need. Clearly, our word has yet to adjust to the changes brought about by the 19[th] century industrial revolution.
Industrial Revolution can be summarized in the following changes: (1) the mechanization of agriculture and industry (2) the use of power (electricity, steam, oil) in industry (3) the development of the factory system (4) a sensational development of transportation and communication (5) an increase in big business control of the economy.
Clark, G., O`rourke, K. H. & Taylor, A. M. (2008). Made in america? the new world, the old, and the industrial revolution.
Kim, S. (2007). Immigration, industrial revolution and urban growth in the United States, 1820-1920: factor endowments, technology and geography.
Kuczynski, J. (1973). A short history of labour conditions under industrial capitalism in the united states of america, 1789-1946. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.