The Second Industrial Revolution was sparked by the creation of the railroad. During the Civil War, railroads existed and were helpful in bringing supplies to troops, but they weren’t very reliable as they would only go on for as long as the owner of the railroad had land. When the owner of the railroad ran out of land, the railroad would end, and people would have to move the things from the railroad to another railroad. People did realize, however, how well a railroad could work if they were all connected. They found that they could make money from the people using their railroad and riding on the trains, and soon people connected their local railroads together.
Railroad barons, like Cornelius Vanderbilt, bought small railroads from owners and consolidated, or connected, them together to make a large railroad. Through the help of immigrant labor, a transcontinental railroad (a railroad that goes all the way across the country) was created, made up of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads. The railroad companies began competing for their customers. They would offer rebates, or discounts, to people to use their railroads. People would use their railroads because of the rebates instead of other railroads, so other railroads would offer rebates.
This was the process which continued on-constant competition, as each railroad fought to give the best prices. For the normal person to use a railroad sometimes these prices were fine, however, farmers had a problem. They wanted to be able to ship their products places to sell, but they didn’t have the money to pay the high prices the railroad companies asked for. This made them angry. Railroads were also the reason that small factories shut down. They were no longer needed because larger factories produced goods and now had the means to transport them far and wide.
The creation and use of the railroad offered new opportunities for people, like creating jobs and making travel easier. Steel workers became much more needed and used as they created the steel for the sides of the railroad tracks. Lumberjacks were also more common, as they made the tracks for the railroads. Coal workers produced coal to run the trains on the tracks, too. Immigrants were given the option of working on the railroad, and they were the sole creators of the tracks that soon ran across the country.
The railroad also caused many more people to settle in the west, as it became easier to go out west on a train instead of in a stagecoach or wagon. In all, railroads were one of the biggest factors in the start of the Second Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution wouldn’t have been the same without 3 very important men: John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. Piermont Morgan. John Rockefeller was the leader in the oil industry.He invested in an oil refinery for himself, and used the profits he made from this one refinery to buy other refineries, until he owned every single one of them.
This monopoly (owning all the businesses in an industry) erased all competition-he controlled everything, and he made record profits. He named all his refineries together The Standard Oil Company of Ohio. Andrew Carnegie was the leader in the steel industry. While traveling in England in the 1870’s he learned about the Bessemer process and when he came back to the US he created a steel mill in Homestead, Pennsylvania. He produced steel and sold the steel to railroad owners and builders.
Very quickly, Carnegie was earning a large profit, and used it to buy out rivals. He bought iron mines, railroad and steamship lines, and warehouses. At this point, Mr. Carnegie owned everything he needed to produce steel: the means to get iron ore to make steel, railroads and ships to distribute the steel, and warehouses to store it in. He was a great example of vertical integration (owning everything you need to create a finished product). In 1892 he combined all his single businesses into the Carnegie Steel Company.
By 1900 he produced more steel then all of Great Britain. Carnegie believed that he had the duty to help improve society, so he donated over $60 million to towns to build libraries all over the country. Andrew Carnegie had a major impact on the second Industrial Revolution. J.P. Morgan was the leader in the banking industry.In the 1890’s Morgan and his friends invested money in the stock of troubled corporations. They won seats on the boards of directors because they were stock holders and from there they directed companies in a way that avoided competition and made money. Morgan ended up gaining control of most of the nations major rail lines.
Then he began to buy up steel companies and he put them together into one large corporation. By 1901, Morgan was the head of the United States Steel Company (which included Carnegie Steel) and this was the first business in the US to be worth more then $1 million. During the second Industrial Revolution many inventions were created that simplified life. Some major inventors were Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Bessemer, George Eastman and George Pullman. Thomas Edison created the lightbulb using electricity in 1878. The light bulb made it possible to create light at night without the hazard and struggle with a candle and matches-just a flick and the light was on.
It could also be used to send signals or messages with Morse code, or a light to show when a machine was one, etc. Even now people use the light bulb for many things. Almost every household in the US has lights now. This invention could be one of the most treasured and important of them all. Alexander Graham Bell created the telephone in 1876. The telephone was a device that could be used to talk to people, no matter how far away they were, and was faster and easier then a telegraph, which could only send one message at a time, and messages had to be short because they were “sent” using Morse code.
Bell modeled the telephone after the telegraph-he used a human voice instead of Morse code-and it worked. A person’s voice could be carried through wires to another person, near or far. This made talking to people and communication easier, and connected people and kept them in contact because they could talk whenever they wanted.
They could send news without having to wait for letters to arrive to people, which the letters would, by the time the other person got it, most likely be outdated. Now, in the 21st century, people still use it as a main source of communication, and can talk and do business with people all the way across the ocean, all because of Alexander Graham Bell. Henry Bessemer thought up the Bessemer Process in the 1850’s, which made it possible to produce steel cheaper and easier, but so that it was still strong and sturdy when it was made.
Steel was used more often because of the Bessemer Process to make skyscrapers, nails, screws, needles, and pins. Today, steel is used for buildings, machines, cars, and more. In 1888, George Eastman invented the camera. A camera can take a picture of something-people, places, objects, anything really and be looked at for years to come.Before people had to have huge cameras and only people who were professionals could take pictures. Photos were rare. Eastman produced a camera that any person could use to take photos.
People could take photos of anything, any time, without a big hassle. These days pretty much everyone has a camera and it is used for a profession, hobby, and to savor memories. George Pullman is the reason sleeping on a train was and still is comfortable. Pullman designed a “sleeping car” in 1857, which was a train car that people could ride in overnight and sleep in comfortably. It made overnight train rides more enjoyable and less bothersome. Nowadays, sleeper cars aren’t used as often, but when they are used, we can thank Pullman for making train rides overnight so fun and comfortable.
The Second Industrial Revolution didn’t make everything wonderful. It created new jobs for people-working in factories, for instance. People and children at young ages could work in a factory, however, the conditions were not safe and people were not treated well.One example of this is the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. On March 25, 1911, a large fire broke out in a New York City factory. A factory called the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was housed in the Asch building on the top three floors- floors 7-10.
Over 500 women and children between the ages of 13 and 23 worked in the factory, producing clothing all day long. Women worked in rooms that were locked from the outside by the owners of the factory, in an effort to keep women working. Supposedly, the fire was started by one of the owners of the factory throwing a cigarette butt into a pile of fabric, which caught on fire. In any case, the top three stories were on fire in a matter of minutes, and the women were trapped inside the locked rooms.
Fire hoses and ladders couldn’t reach these top stories and women began to die. There was an elevator with a man inside that ran it, and this man went up and down, trying to rescue women, however, the elevator could only occupy 10 people at a time. The women who couldn’t make it down the elevator ended up having to throw themselves out the windows or die burning in the flames.Women who jumped died from the fall. Other women threw themselves down the elevator shaft, thinking they could save themselves, but they died as well. Altogether, on that fateful day, approximately 146 women, most immigrants from Ireland and other countries, died.
This tragic accident was an eye-opener for women’s, and worker’s rights. The Pullman Palace Car Company in Pullman, Illinois rented out houses to it’s workers, and ran food and supply stores that workers bought from. Altogether, workers relied on the Pullman Company for their whole life-in a sense, they were slaves. In 1893, the company decreased wages by one fourth without making changes in rent, fuel, or other costs for living.
The workers tried to speak to the company and have prices changed, but when the company didn’t listen, workers went on strike.President Grover Cleveland sent troops to the Pullman town, and they opened fire on a group of strikers, killing approximately 30 people.
This was another sad event, all because workers were trying to get their rights. During a labor rally in Haymarket Square in Chicago, in 1886, a bomb exploded among a group of policemen as they tried to stop the rally. The bomb killed seven police officers and injured seventy people.
The incident was known nationwide and damaged the view of the growing labor movement. The Second Industrial Revolution increased the amount of immigrants and immigrant labor in the country.Immigrants came to the United States and ended up having jobs in factories or other places where they didn’t receive fair treatment and pay. Immigrants worked in factories like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory and helped make the transcontinental railroad, which was the main cause of the whole industrial revolution.
The Second Industrial Revolution was started because of the Central and Pacific Railroad. It increased immigrants and immigrant labor. It also was a cause for people to realize worker’s rights. Inventions were made and life changed drastically. The Second Industrial Revolution was a time of growth and learning in the United States of America.