The United States Became an Industrial Power

The United States became an industrial power by tapping North America’s vast natural resources, including minerals, lumber and coal, particularly in the newly developed west. Industries that had once depended on waterpower began to use prodigious amounts of coal. Steam engines replaced human and animal labor, and kerosene replaced whale oil and wood. By 1900, America’s factories and urban homes were converting to electric power.

Dependence on fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas), which powered machines of unprecedented speed and strength, transformed both the economy and the country’s natural and built environments. What is vertical integration?

Vertical integration is a business model in which one company controlled all aspects of production from raw materials to finished goods. Once his engineers designed a cooling system, swift invested in a fleet of refrigerator cars and constructed a packing plant near Chicago’s stockyards. What is horizontal integration? Horizontal integration is a strategy pioneered by Rockefeller. Like swift he pressured competitors through predatory pricing, but when he had driven them to failure, he invited rivals to merge their companies into his conglomerate.

The roles the government played in this story were in an effort to attract corporate headquarters to its state, New Jersey broke ranks in 1889, by passing a law that permitted the creation of holding companies and other corporate combinations. Despite reformers’ efforts, a huge wave of mergers in the 1890s further concentrated corporate power. By 1900, America’s largest one hundred companies controlled a third of the nation’s productive capacity.

Such familiar firms as DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and singer had assumed dominant places in their respective industries. The immense power of these corporations would henceforth be a recurring political concern.

Roles that the government could have played but didn’t was that distressed by the development of near monopolies, reformers began to denounce “the trusts” and that some states outlawed trusts as a legal form. The nineteenth century's industrial philosophy dates, actually, from Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", published in 1776.

This is really the "capitalist bible" in which the notion that greed has a socially useful role is first popularly put forward. It also puts forward the notion of the "invisible hand" that guides the market to improve the standard of living of everyone, without regard to the actual intentions of its participants.

This is the "magic of the marketplace" many capitalists are so fond of referring to. But, by the late nineteenth century, these concepts of Adam Smith had been distorted and fused, to some extent, with the ideas of Charles Darwin about evolution. This led to the extremely pernicious and largely discredited concept of "Social Darwinism", related to Nazism, in the twentieth century. Social Darwinists believe that only those who are socially successful and powerful should have the right to survive, and that providing assistance and support to the "weak" is, actually, antisocial. According to this view, society can only progress if the "strong" exploit, suppress and, eventually, destroy the "weak".

The factors that I don’t really agree with are the Ideas of social Darwinism. I don’t think that the strong should not help the weak because what if were the strongest person in the world with the most money and were at the top and we refuse to help someone who is at the bottom like the very bottom were in there’s no more down only way is up at that point say we become the weak party and them the strong party what if we need the help they need and the refuse us that help because we believe in social Darwinism as an whole and we didn’t help them reach the top when we were up there so why should they help us.

Industrialism changed the nature of work and in many respects caused an uneven distribution of power Among interest groups in American society. Industrial workers were employees rather than producers, And repeating specialized tasks made them feel like appendages to machines. The emphasis on quantity Rather than quality further dehumanized the workplace. These factors, in addition to the increased Power of the employer, reduced the independence and self-respect of workers, but worker resistance only led employers to tighten restrictions.

Industrialism also brought more women and children into the labor force. Although job opportunities Opened for women, most women went into low-paying clerical jobs, and sex discrimination continued in the workplace. Employers also attempted to cut wage costs by hiring more children. Although a few States passed child-labor laws, such laws were difficult to enforce and employers generally opposed State interference in their hiring practices. Effective child-labor legislation would not come until the Twentieth century.

As the nature of work changed, workers began to protest low wages, the attitude of employers, the hazards of the workplace, and the absence of disability insurance and pensions. The effectiveness of Legislation designed to redress these grievances was usually limited by conservative Supreme Court Rulings Out of frustration, some workers began to participate in unions and in organized resistance. Unionization efforts took various directions.

The Knights of Labor tried to ally all workers by creating Producer and consumer cooperatives; the American Federation of Labor strove to organize skilled Workers to achieve pragmatic objectives; and the Industrial Workers of the World attempted to Overthrow capitalist society. The railroad strikes of 1877, the Haymarket riot, and the Homestead and Pullman strikes were all marked by violence, and they exemplified labor’s frustration as well as its active and organized resistance.

Government intervention against the strikers convinced many workers Of the imbalance of interest groups in American society, whereas the middle class began to connect organized working-class resistance with radicalism. Although this perception was by and large Mistaken, middle-class fear of social upheaval became an additional force against organized labor. Not only did industrialization affect the nature of work, it also produced a myriad of products that affected the everyday lives of Americans. As America became a consumer-oriented society, most of its Citizens faced living costs that rose faster than wages.

Consequently, many people could not take advantage of the new goods and services being offered. But, as noted above, more women and children Became part of the paid labor force. Although many did so out of necessity, others hoped that the Additional income would allow the family to participate in the consumer society.

The Nativists didn’t take too kind to the wave of new immigrants. The reason most industrial workers put up with the difficult conditions of their work because factory owners, especially those involved in the steel industry and in the coal mine industry, often would build company towns. Workers were given cheap rent in these towns to go along with their low wages. In essence the worker was trapped. The company town afforded him a place to live and without the job he couldn't live there.