The industrial development in the United States from 1877-1900 led to a dynamic alteration that characterized industrial America. The United States experienced economic transformations that resulted from a matured industrial economy, the fast extension of large businesses, the progression of agriculture and industrial conflict. Nonetheless, industrialization proved essential to this transformation due to its effects on urbanization, immigration and labor. Foremost, the outburst of technological innovation fueled economic growth. However, such innovations only facilitated rapid development of the American corporation. The ideology of corporations facilitated large businesses that amassed significant productive capacities. The location of productive capacities within urban areas initiated a shift by workers from rural areas to urban areas (Schaller et al, 18). This is because the corporations that owned these resources had headquarters in the urbanized regions. Furthermore, the limited concentration of productive capacities in the hands of corporations further decreased employment opportunities within rural regions.
Technological innovation introduced mechanization to farming. This transformed farming into a large-scale enterprise. However, this did not solve the problem of hunger among White Americans. Therefore, this issue initiated subsequent wars between the White Americans and the Natives forcing them to leave. Additionally, industrialization affected immigration and urbanization especially after the Civil War. There was an increase in urbanization and immigration especially among foreign ethnic races. Additionally, numerous immigrants arrived to America from Mexico, Europe, Asia and Central America due to America’s industrial and religious freedom. However, industrialization affected many American families. For instance, modernization in agricultural practices disrupted farms owned by families leading to severed ties among families (Schaller et al, 20). Furthermore, industrialization increased organized protest movements. The increase in social problems further facilitated the surge of labor unions and unparalleled conflicts amid labor and capital.
Political and reform movements in industrialized America sought to enact legislations that would deal with the effects of industrialization between the 1870s and 1917. Most of the businesses in past America cared little for the input of workers and consumers. For instance, Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company engaged in monopolistic practices that hurt consumers in terms of prices. Additionally, railroad tycoons such as Cornelius Vanderbilt engaged in corrupt practices that mostly hurt farmers. This led to the passage of specific political legislations such as the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act. This act, passed by Congress, focused on protecting farmers and other clients from undue business practices. Furthermore, reform movements also took place in addressing the effects of industrialization in the country. The 1880s saw the formation of the Populist Party by Western farmers (Schaller, 19). The farmers asserted that industrialists and financiers directed the Democrats and Republicans in government in order to pass prejudiced legislations.
The Populist Party focused on introducing changes that would see government become independent from these outside parties. Thus, in 1882, the Populists unveiled a program in Omaha that advocated for Direct Election and a Secret Ballot. The program also aimed at coercing government to increase its participation in the economy. Additionally, the populists also demanded free and restricted silver and an increase in income tax in order for the wealthy to pay more. However, the Populist Movement was unsuccessful after anti-populist; William McKinley won the 1886 election. Consequently, the Progressive Movement emerged after populism. It advocated for a boost in the lives of Americans by allowing them to take advantage of democracy (Schaller, 20). The Progressives believed that democracy was necessary to eliminate industrial evils such as unfair business practices especially on farmers and alleviating poverty. The election of Theodore Roosevelt as President brought success to the Progressive Movement.
Schaller, Michael. Reading American Horizons: Primary Sources for U.S. History in a Global Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Schaller, Michael, Robert D. Schulzinger, John Bezi?s-Selfa, Janette T. Greenwood, Andrew Kirk, Sarah J. Purcell, and Aaron C. Sheehan-Dean. American Horizons: Primary Sources for U.S. History in a Global Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.