Abstract In this brief paper, a description of two developments of industrialization that positively affected the United States and two developments that negatively affected the United States will be discussed. An analysis of whether or not industrialization was generally beneficial or detrimental to the lives of Americans and the history of the United States will be outlined.
Second US Industrial Revolution, 1870 -1910 In this brief paper, a description of two developments of industrialization that positively affected American lives and a description of two developments of industrialization that negatively affected American lives will be discussed. Further, an analysis of whether or not industrialization was generally beneficial or detrimental to the lives of Americans and the history of the United States will be analyzed.
During the 18th century the Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, which at that time was the most powerful and wealthiest empire on the planet. Soon thereafter, other countries such as Germany, the United States and France became a part of this historical event.
The impact on the world was monumental. It changed the ways by how the world produced its goods. “It also changed our societies from a mainly agricultural society to one the in which industry and manufacturing was in control” (The Industrial Revolution). The Industrial Revolution, which in essence was an evolution, created a high demand for labor. As a result families migrated from the rural farm areas to the newly industrialized cities to find work.
“Once they got there, things did not look as bright as they did. To survive in even the lowest levels of poverty, families had to have every able member of the family go to work. This led to the high rise in child labor in factories.” (Child Labor). Children as young as six were put to work for very low, if any, wages, for long hours in deplorable conditions. “In the early decades of the twentieth century, the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. peaked.” (Child Labor Public Education Project). Child labor began to decline as labor reform movements grew and labor standards began improving.
Various organizations, led by working women and middle-class consumers shared goals of challenging child labor. According to the article “Child Labor Public Education Project”, the National Child Labor Committee’s work to end child labor was combined with efforts to provide free, compulsory education for all children, and culminated in the passage of the Fair Labor Standard Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor. Thus the employment of children as young as six years old was a black mark on U.S. history and a negative result of the Industrial Revolution.
Another negative aspect of the impact of the Industrial Revolution was the effect it had on the infrastructure of American cities. Cities were ill-prepared for the increase in population brought about by the advent of country people migrating to its centers. (According to James Olsen, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, 98 percent of the people of the world lived in rural setting and functioned in subsistence economies).
Also, immigration was on the rise. Housing was inferior and often overcrowded. Sewage systems were inadequate and thus presented health hazards, as did the poor air quality caused by pollution created from the factories and overall industrialization. This pollution also affected the rivers and soil. Positive changes created by the advent of new technology (railroads & machinery) in the U.S. also played a significant role in the growth and wealth of our country. The influx of immigrants in the late 1800’s (10 million between 1860 and 1890) also brought with them new ideas and inventions.
The invention of the electric light meant that factories could be open and running for 24 hours to satisfy the increased demand for material goods. The expansion of businesses and factories enabled the building of highways, railways, and canals which in turn offered the citizens an increased standard of living and closer cohesion as a society. I believe that industrialization was generally beneficial to the lives of the American people and the history of the United States.
Several of the advantages are outlined in the above paragraph. Overall, Americans enjoyed a higher standard of living and a longer life span, thanks to the Industrial Revolution. “…before the eighteenth century there was no mechanism by which long-term sustainable growth could take place. By the mid-nineteenth century such growth was an established fact of life: for the first time rapid population increase was accompanied by sustained growth in income per person.” (More, C. 2000).
In this brief paper, we have discussed two elements of industrialization that positively affected American lives and two elements of industrialization that negatively affected American lives. One of these negative elements was the employment of children in the industrial arena. The second negative aspect was that the roots of our environmentally challenged society stemmed from the Industrial Revolution. From a positive stance, American grew and prospered economically, and became a superpower on the world stage.
Laws governing child labor were enacted and in general the population became healthier and enjoyed a longer life span. We have also looked at whether or not industrialization was generally beneficial or detrimental to the lives of Americans and the history of the United States. Our conclusion is that the U.S. greatly benefitted from the Industrial Revolution. Because of what grew from the roots of this revolution, both positive and negative, America is the greatest country on earth.
References Child labor in factories, a new workforce during the Industrial Revolution. Retrieved from: http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/nhs/cur/Baker_00/2002_p7/ak_p7/childlabor.html Child labor public education project. Retrieved from: http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html More, C. (2000) Understanding the industrial revolution. (2000) London, Routledge. Olson, J. S. (2001) Encyclopedia of the industrial revolution in America. Westport CT, Greenwood Press. The industrial revolution: Its affects and consequences. Retrieved from: