Industrialization in America

1080 Words5 Pages
Mark Twain once called Industrialization an, “Era of incredible Rottenness.” Industrialization had both negative effects and positive effects on city life. While big businesses thrived, the gap between the rich and poor grew larger day by day. Progressive reformers sought to close this gap and bring together the nation.

Industrialization was very beneficial to American business owners. Following the civil war, industries transformed into modern powerhouses. Big business owners who seized power in these industries became even bigger. New inventions led to new thriving industries. Iron, for example, was replaced with ultra-strong steel. Andrew Carnegie built the biggest steal business in the world. One main reason why steel was in such demand was due to the expansion of railroads. Before steel, railroads ran on weak iron, which would crack and brake. By 1900, Carnegie Steel earned a whopping $40 million a year (Roark, 547). Carnegie believed that big businesses such as this actually improved the overall wellbeing of the nation- rich and poor. In his letter entitled Wealth, Carnegie states, “...the millionaire will be about a trustee for the poor, entrusted for a season with a great part of increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself...” (Johnson, 54).Another captain of industry during industrialization was John D. Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller is the founder of the Standard Oil Co. and is said to be the richest american ever. By 1890, Standard Oil Co. controlled more than 90% of the oil business (Roark, 548). Rockefeller was so powerful that even the government feared him. By making secret deals with railroad companies and holding extreme price...

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Although industrialization brought about new inventions and discoveries, it created a divide between the rich and the poor. Unskilled immigrants had no choice but to work in unsanitary factories for extremely low pay. Theodore Roosevelt and Jane Adams were just two Progressive Reformers that sought to improve the unity of the nation by closing the gap.

Works Cited

Roark, James l., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia C. Cohen, Sarah Stage, and Alan Lawson. The American Promise. 4th ed. Vol. II. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2009. N. pag. Print.

Johnson, Michael P. Reading the American Past. 4th ed. Vol. II. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2009. N. pag. Print.
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