The United States : An Era Of The American Economy Essay

The United States : An Era Of The American Economy Essay

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The United States in the 1870s was highly agrarian focused, centered on the local community with individuals taking pride in their work. This was a time where small businesses and farms were the center of the American economy. In a striking comparison, the early 20th century marked an era of heavy industrialization and a wider view of the nation as a whole. The decades in between were filled with violent and rapid change in all aspects of American life. By and large through the expansion of business across state lines, an explosion of growth in railroads, and huge leaps in the technologies responsible for efficient industry. These aspects were the driving force behind the new America that was born from the haze of industrialization.
In the post-civil war era, most business was limited to the state that it took place in, through the 1870s and onward however, there was a huge growth of interstate businesses. The fuel for this growth was the agricultural sector, it expanded to the point that the United States became a world leader by 1870 (T&S 578). The growth of agriculture in the Midwest, due to settling of people as a consequence of the Homestead Act of 1862, provided massive surpluses of crops to be further processed across state lines in large factories. The most crucial part of having big business across a large distance was being able to move raw goods to locations where they could be processed into regular consumer goods. This is where the railroad system came in, “a national government-subsidized network or railroads” allowed the farmers to sell their goods to larger populations in cities miles and miles away (T&S 578).
Railroads quickly became an integral part of the lives of Americans following 1870. Their expansion bro...

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...e war of 1898 resulted in The United States being thrust into the world as a new imperial power with the acquisition of the Phillipines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. This opened the way for the US to start collection as many islands as possible in the Pacific, starting next with Hawaii (then known as the Sandwich Islands) the same year (T&S 705). These new territories allowed for American business leaders to “more easily penetrate the vast markets of populous China” and begin to compete with France, Germany, and Great Britain (T&S 703). The expansion of markets was a key part of the United States rising status as a great world power, creating influence where before there was little before. Interestingly enough though, the important things to most citizens wasn’t what new territories were captured, but rather the new political and social movements occurring in the Midwest.

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