While the industrial revolution began in Great Britain, America was new to the industrial revolution but rose to industrial dominance by 1900. The major factors that led to the American industrial revolution were raw materials and cheap labor. Immigrants played a key role in the increased in production, with the lure of employment in America, mass immigration from European countries increased 142%.
Two of the basic industries of America during the industrial revolution were the production of steel, and the railroad. Steel manufacturing replaced iron in the construction of the railroad. “Much stronger that iron, steel became the essential ingredient in the transformation of America into an industrial society, allowing for the construction of the railroad and telegraph networks and tall buildings called “skyscrapers” “. (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2013) The railroad played an integral part of the industrial revolution, decreasing the time to transport goods and passenger travel.
Andrew Carnegie, an immigrant from Scotland, became the most significant businessman during th9is time. He studied accounting and learned telegraphy at the age of 17 and “in this capacity learned every detail of the modern business practices that the railroad was developing”. (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2013) He eventually made the decision to invest exclusively in steel production. With his experience in the railroad industry he focused on ways to reduce manufacturing expenses by purchasing railroad lines and iron mines.”If he owned the rails and the mines, he could reduce his costs and produce cheaper steel” (ushistory.org). Carnegie Steel employed over 20,000 workers by 1900. “Carnegie also wanted productive workers. He wanted them to feel that they had a vested interest in company prosperity so he initiated a profit-sharing plan: (ushistory.org). Carnegie contributed to public foundations, libraries, schools and the arts. The Carnegie Hall in New York City remains a historical landmark, but ironically, steel was not used in the original construction. Was he a robber baron? I’d not believe so. I believe he was a good businessman who was a self-made success. He pursued education to learn all he could and used his knowledge to start a company that became the largest steel company in the world. His success is a wish many immigrants hope for when coming to America.
World War I started in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip. American tried to remain neutral during this war, but did provide relief to Allies. “By 1917, American banks were loaning Britain $10 million a day” (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2013). America sent ambassadors to negotiate peace settlements, but this was unsuccessful. American joined the war in 1917. The Germans did not think America would be able to assemble, train and deploy their military in time to help the Allies.” They underestimated the citizens of the US. Many immigrants stated that felt like true Americans for the first time when the government reached out to them. Drafting males between the ages of 18-45 counted for 72% of the military. These troops helped to end the war. “American divisions provided key strength for the French-led counteroffensives over the summer, and in the Meuse-Argonne campaign, American solders leveled a devastating blow to the German army that helped make British and French advances to the north possible” (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2013).
Keene, J. D., Cornell, S., & O’Donnell, E. T. (2013). Visions of America: A History of the United States (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.
ushistory.org. (n.d.). The New Tycoons: Andrew Carnegie. Retrieved April 01, 2019, from ushistory: http://www.ushistory.org/us/36c.asp
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