Industrial America Essay

Industrial America Essay-10
The country became increasingly urban, and cities grew not only in terms of population but also in size, with skyscrapers pushing cities upward and new transportation systems extending them outward.Part of the urban population growth was fueled by an unprecedented mass immigration to the United States that continued unabated into the first two decades of the twentieth century.

The country became increasingly urban, and cities grew not only in terms of population but also in size, with skyscrapers pushing cities upward and new transportation systems extending them outward.Part of the urban population growth was fueled by an unprecedented mass immigration to the United States that continued unabated into the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Fossil-fueled machines operated by unskilled or semi-skilled newcomers displaced skilled workers in many industries (with coal mining an ironic exception).

Working people exerted less control over production than ever before; American labor leaders increasingly decried the degradation of work as all sorts of time-honored trades and occupations became obsolete.

Teddy Roosevelt, who had a front-row seat in these developments, described the birth of a new American state that broke significantly from its laissez-faire precursor: "The development of industrialism means that there must be an increase in the supervision exercised by the Government over business enterprise.

The years of industrial expansion after the Civil War brought significant changes to American society.

Northern railroads and factories took the lead in replacing wood and water power with coal. Railroads and steamships burned vast quantities of coal, but they also hauled it to other consumers.

By the 1860s, booming northern coal mines—the Union produced 38 times more coal than the Confederacy—and the war industries they fueled helped to give the Union a decisive material advantage. More than 750,000 coal miners of every race and more than three dozen nationalities were digging and blasting upwards of 550 million tons of coal a year by the 1910s (a volume sufficient to cover the entire island of Manhattan with more than 21 feet of coal) (see Primary Source Coal Consumption ([1850-1900]). Most major American industries—steel mills, textile factories, and so forth—thereafter began to use immense amounts of coal, either directly in steam engines and furnaces, or indirectly via electricity produced in coal-burning generating stations.Fossil fuels essentially enabled Americans to harness the power of ancient suns. Textbook discussions of American industrialization often begin with New England's water-powered textile mills.Coal-powered technologies magnified the strength, stamina, and precision of American workers, making the U. By the 1830s, though, large-scale coal extraction had begun in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and beyond.By the 1890s, the coal industry stretched from the Appalachian Mountains, across the Midwestern prairies, to the Cascades and Rockies, making the U. America's industrial ascendancy was an unmitigated disaster for the environment.In the countryside, coal-burning machines such as steam shovels, tractors, and dredges ripped into the earth, yielding short-term profits at the expense of soil erosion and other long-term problems.The coal-powered economy brought to bear much more energy than existing technologies could easily control.Many jobs consequently became exceedingly hazardous. By the early 20th century, tens of thousands of workers were dying every year on the railroads, in factories, and especially in coal mines, including many boys and adolescents (see Primary Source Jokerville Coal Mine Explosion [1844] and Primary Source Breaker Boys at Work [1911]).Coal-miners engaged in strikes more frequently than any other American workers. Neither this people nor any other free people will permanently tolerate the use of the vast power conferred by vast wealth without lodging somewhere in the government the still higher power of seeing that this power is used for and not against the interests of the people as a whole." Both the vast new power and the vast new wealth Roosevelt decried traced their origins to coal.Because of this tradition of labor activism and the public concern it generated—concern amplified by the widespread though rarely articulated recognition that the nation had become utterly dependent on the coal that miners unearthed—the coal industry prompted heated public debates by the early 20th century and, eventually, a spate of new regulations and institutions. More than 100 years later, students need to learn that the dilemmas of our own fossil-fueled society have deeper roots than history textbooks manage to convey.As of 1860, the United States was an industrial laggard. industrial production exceeded "the combined manufacture of its three main rivals." Why, and with what consequences?Great Britain, France, and Germany each produced more goods than their transatlantic counterpart. Most textbooks provide at least a few glimpses of the transformation of the U. into a fossil-fueled nation: a photo of child laborers outside a Pennsylvania coal mine, a statistic on rising coal production, perhaps a brief mention of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914 (in which Colorado National Guardsmen killed 18 men, women, and children during a miners' strike in southern Colorado).

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