Before 1860, the United States was known as an agricultural based nation. The United States had so much land that could be cheaply bought, labor work was too costly, and products could not be shipped quick enough. For the United States, being a farming community simply made more sense.
While over in Europe, especially England, industrial factories were booming immensely. Except there was a great light of industry heading towards the United States, and it was coming fast. Soon enough the United States would be entering a new era, the Industrial Boom. New transportation options, rapid immigration, and new mechanical developments played major parts in this explosion that changed the United States, and the world.
The railroad business was not popular before the late eighteen hundreds. It was seen as expensive and out of the way, until there were developments that made the railroad system more efficient. Before the Industrial Boom, the tracks gauges were all different sizes throughout the United States. People fixed this problem by creating a standard distance for the gauges, which was six feet, according to Pamela E. Mack. After this the shocking jump in the miles of railroad tracks in the United States can be clearly seen in Document
2. When the Bessemer Process was created, which made steel stronger and cheaper, it decreased costs for the railroad by as much as eighty-five percent (History of the United States Industrialization and reform 1870-1916). Another new innovation was gasoline, and how it could be used as a new source to power the trains. People like Cornelius Vanderbilt found even more ways to cut expenses for the railroad industry and make more tracks. Industries were able to use the trains to transport their goods at a fast pace.
Time is money in the different industries of the time, so at the fast pace that the railroads moved was fantastic for the companies. The railroad business did not stop its contribution to the Industrial Boom there. The railroads also created a lot of industrial jobs, from working in steel mills to drilling for oil. A lot of times people forget about all the work that has to be put into the railroad business, there has to be people to lay down the tracks or even build the wheels on the trains.
There were plenty of jobs that had to be filled to complete the railroad industry, which benefited the community. Another demonstration of how important the railroads were to the community and people is shown in Document 3 on how the Republican Party members were so determined to build a transcontinental railroad, because of beliefs on how much is would benefit the country.Without the railroads, the Industrial Boom might have never happened.
Over in Europe machinery was replacing workers, and people were left without jobs. This sparked immigration to the United States, all of these people came over looking for jobs, and they would take any job they could find. The immigrants cultures ranged from Asian to Polish, there were ones from all over to the states. They all came looking to fulfill the American dream.
They would work for very low wages. Except for a lot of these immigrants a lot of these very low wages in the U.S. were actually better than what they were making back in their homeland according to the worksheet, “Push And Pull Factors”. As seen in the graph in document six, by the nineteen hundreds there were as much as 8.8 million immigrants coming into the United States. This spark caused some citizens of the United States wanting a law limiting how many immigrants could come to the United States.
The Republican Party openly refused and stated on how they opposed the idea of “immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged [reduced] or impaired [harmed]”. This left the Americans fighting for their jobs with these new immigrants. Businesses saw this as a way to lower wages, which turned out to be a smart plan for most companies. Something to consider is that companies only spent money on what was going to make them more money, so money was never spent on things like safe working conditions.
These companies were just streaming in all of this money, because of the immigrants coming over. Immigrants made it so that these different industries could gain a little extra money by their low wages, money in which companies made more factories with. New factories were popping up everywhere, and a lot of it had to do with the immigrants coming over to the United States. Unfortunately for the laborers their wages are going to be cut again, and the reason isn’t new immigrants, but new machinery.
Before different machinery was developed, laborers were forced to do a lot of hands on work. As said in document one, even just simply moving one piece of a product to another part of the factory had to be done. All of this hands on work made it so that the company would have to hire more people to fulfil these jobs, because if they didn’t it would take way too long for their products to be made (Overview of the Industrial Revolution). Except once the Industrial Boom hit the United States, ideas starting rolling, and new inventions were being drawn up.
Some machinery cut out as much as two weeks of time that it would have taken to fulfil a job. That meant that these industries were able to make more of its product at an increased rate. It also allowed companies to fire a lot of employees and cut wages, which would save the company even more money. In addition, with all these new machines, there was a less chance for human error. Machinery changed the way companies were ran in a remarkable way for these different industries.
The Industrial Boom changed a lot of things, down to the population of our nation to the amount of miles of railroad tracks that were laid down. In the United States today, factories still stand and contribute to our nation’s wealth. To think all this started with the Industrial Boom. Without the newly innovated transportation, lowly paid immigrants, and new machinery all of these industries would not be where they are today, and the United States might still be filled with cotton and corn instead of buildings and smoke.