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Industrialization After the American Civil War

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Industrialization after the American Civil War
Student’s Name
Thesis Statement
After the American Civil War, and the final unification of the North States, and the Confederate states, the country, or more specifically the south of The United States, entered in a rapid industrialization that contributed to the growth of the economically crippled south, and bolstered the northern productive capacities. That industrialization helped shaping the economy and have generated income and revenue since the first day.
In this essay, we shall speak about urbanization and the role of industrialization after the American Civil War. In order to make the essay comprehensible, and cohesive, we shall introduce the concept of urbanization to establish a background. Urbanization can be described as a population shift from the rural areas to the urban areas. It refers to the increasing proportion of people living in the cities, opposed to those who live in the country. Also, the industrial age, a process the country was reliving after the war, influenced the people on moving from towns to city, in order to contribute with the machine work, instead of the field work. The new factories needed workers, and those workers moved to the city, leaving the city. Also, the wages they could gain, opposed to those they might not gain working the fields, boosted industrialization, and urbanization. (McGranahan & Satterthwaite, 2014)
Aspects that Influenced Economy; Society, and Politics of Urbanization after the Civil War

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Economy. The Civil War had devastated the south, and given the fact that most of the war fought in the south; and the northern Navy had blockaded all the south ports, it could not industrialize properly (West, 2008). The region’s infrastructure was destroyed, and the Confederate currency became worthless. In the same way, the slave emancipation destroyed a great part of the South’s capital, the new work systems, along with the changes in the power structure, damaged the south, and its capacity to function economically. The economic growth in the south stalled, and it was not until the arrival of new technologies that the south could recover, and become economically stable (Grant, 1973).
2. Entrepreneurship: Regarding entrepreneurship, many people considered that there were many possibilities available in a post-war country, and decided to act on it. Also, another important part of the Post-Civil War America was the innovation. In 1844, the Patent Office issued 1,045, to 7653 in 1860. (Carson, 1999)
3. Transport and Communications: After the Civil War, the railroads started to work again, this contributed to the establishment of the country as a whole, a place that existed from the East to the country, to the West. With better roads, came better communications, which improved the ability the country had on receiving news from the other states and had a more clear vision of what the country meant. This, influenced the growth, to the country, both social, and economically
Groups Affected by Industrialization
1. Migrant Workers: When the country shifted from an agricultural to an industrial nation, many changes ensued. Since slavery was abolished, a new group of people appeared the sharecroppers. Most of them where migrant workers that worked in plantations, and moved to another, and so forth. They were paid daily, and left after working. However, their conditions were no better than those of the slaves, as the wages were low, and the farmers were often treated unjustly (Rooke, 1971)
2. African-American People: To African-Americans, the new South was not a hospitable one (Trotter, 2000). Slavery was abolished, but that does not mean the oppression ended. The African-Americans in the south suffered from a huge amount of discrimination by the white majorities, and their rights were essentially stepped on. Their votes were manipulated, and since many of them were illiterate, they could not vote. For instance, a white illiterate man could vote, but a black one could not. Also, segregation played an important role regarding African-Americans. Segregated lives, forced upon them by segregation laws kept white people from black people in the public spaces, such as trains; stations; schools; parks, and cemeteries. That and the lynchings kept the southern part of the country as the most impoverished, and racist region of the country. In the north, there was also segregation, and strong laws separation African-Americans from white people, but lynchings did not happen. However, the work conditions were no better to them, and inequity was the rule.
3. Children: Child labor was an everyday occurrence in industrial America. With the dream of having a better life, many families relocated from the country to the cities, and which looked like a good idea, but the high cost of live in the cities made necessary that many children worked as hard as their parents to earn their sustenance. (Grayson, 2011) Workdays could often be of 10 to 14 hours with none or minimal breaks during the shift. Also, factories that employed children tended to be unsafe than those who did not. In the same way, since the machinery was not meant to be operated by children their small bodies could get caught in the pieces, and lead to horrific accidents. However, it was not only a matter of education. Children who worked did not have access to education, which hindered their possibilities of faring better in life.
How Industrialization affected the Average American
To answer this question accordingly, we shall separate the different ways, the average American life was affected by the industrialization of the country.
1. Living Conditions: The war destroyed most of the country infrastructure, and despite the south was the most affected part of the country, its effects in the north were also perceived. The inflation rates were sky high, and banks did not offer credits because the financial system was wrecked, and the economy had to find the way to re-blossom. That is why wages were so low, and people lived in inhuman conditions. For instance, the immigrants who helped shaping the country’s economy often lived in ghettos whose living conditions were subpar, and not suitable for human life. And since those were he only places they could afford, and since most of the people were not educated, that made incredibly difficult to have a better life perspective. Those affected working conditions, on which the workers worked hard to earn a few dollars, that would have been sooner than later sucked into paying for the nasty places people lived, made that many workers live in poverty despite having a job.
2. Social Conditions: There have been many attempts to exclude people from sharing the benefits of the economic boom, and the industrialization of the country was not an exception. Workers worked for a small wage, but the person that owned the factory received the lion’s share of the benefits. This and racial issues made life hard for many people during the post-Civil War Era. In the same way, immigrants’ agglomeration required the implementation of a new policy that guaranteed some changes and solved the inequity that ran rampant in the country. During the first years of the Civil War, the population descended, but afterward it increased to 176,282 arrivals in the 1870s. In a decade, many immigrants entered the country and contributed with the shaping of the country (Carson, 2009)
After reviewing this essay, we can see that for a country to become a world-renowned power, it has to pass through a process of industrialization. Sadly, that process is not a victim free process, and many people had to suffer from it. And although we do not consider that the end justify the means, seen from a modern perspective, without that we would not have the society we have today, and we would not be the country we are now. Also, when seen in perspective industrialization was the hammer that converted the country in what we are today. It seems that is on the forge when one become a forger, and the country was no exception.
Carson, T. (1999). Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history. Detroit: Gale Group.
Grant, N. (1973). The industrial revolution. New York: F. Watts.
Grayson, R. (2011). The U.S. industrial revolution. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub.
Rooke, P. (1971). The Industrial Revolution. New York: John Day.
McGranahan, G., & Satterthwaite, D. (2014). Urbanisation concepts and trends. Retrieved from
Trotter, J. (2000). African Americans and the Industrial Revolution. OAH Magazine of History, 19-23. Retrieved from, E. (2008). The Civil War and Reconstruction in the American West. Retrieved from

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