Effects of Industrialization in the United States

Effects of Industrialization in the United States















Effects of Industrialization in the United States

Thesis Statement

Industrialization after the Civil War influenced the economy, politics and society of the United States greatly. Discovery and transmission of electricity, the construction of the railroads, use of machines by farmers and numerous politics all contributed to the industrialization.


In the period between 1865 and 1920 just after the Civil War, the United States of America experienced great changes in the industrialization field. This caused enormous transformation in the lives of so many people. The major adjustments that were experienced were related to the society, politics and economy. These changes improved the lives of the people but also generated problems. The discovery of electricity and the ways of transmitting it was one of the major turnarounds for the industrialization in America.

Due to the discovery, many businesses were able to operate twenty-four hours in a day as opposed to the way they used to operate only during the day when there was adequate sunlight (Hillstrom & Hillstrom). People were more open to businesses and they became more productive during this time. Everyone benefited from this discovery as it was supplied to workplaces, businesses and homes. This was a major boost to the entrepreneurial powers of the people and it in return improved in the economic growth of the country. Politics played a major role during the industrialization since the government had to pass some laws that were in its support. Vigorous democratic institutions were allocated political power during this time.

The introduction of a means of public transport systems led to the growth and expansion of the cities. Previously the only methods for transporting people were horse drawn wagons or walking. This had led many people to move to the cities’ downtowns where they could easily access the work places, a thing that led to a lot of congestion. The introduction of the electronic streetcars was a much needed and waited for industrial change that saw the lives of most people improved (Rees, 2013). Subways were also created as of 1867 and this led to the opening up of the cities. People started moving out of the congested downtown settlements into better surrounding neighborhoods. Those working white-collar jobs had the preference of moving into suburbs. Numerous types of transportation came forth in early 1800’s including roads, canals, steamboats and railroads, which all contributed, to the industrialization of America.

The Native Americans were affected by industrialization as it led people moving into the West through the development of the railroads. Migration to the West where the Native Americans lived happened to look for land, money or a new life. This led to their displacements to a specified plot of land after the enactment of the Indian Removal Act. The second group of people that were affected by the industrialization was the farmers who were considered as low class in the society. Farming became more commercial and with the help of mechanization, farmers suffered low incomes due to the increased competition. Child labor was rampant during this era as children were exploited and made to work in the mines, mills, factories and seafood merchants (Connolly, 2003). As the economic climate changed, the roles of women did so too. They were no longer expected to just clean and take care of the homes. They would now join the industrial workforce together with their children, and work under demanding conditions.

The industrialization affected the average working American in different ways. (One) Many people were moving into the cities where the industries were placed to get employment. (Two) The movement of people in to the cities led to great congestion. (Three) Because of the over population, there was increased. (Four) The use of machinery in the work places increased efficiency. (Five) roles were established between genders.

Final Outline

Child labor is a practice of employing children below the age of eighteen to work in industries, factories or even farms (Whittaker, 2004). This was a rampant practice during the American industrialization. The employers made it mandatory for the young boys and girls to work under bad conditions that caused cruel and permanent substantial, emotional and social harm to them. By 1900, over two million children most of them who were immigrants, were in employment. These children were all below the age of sixteen years. Poverty level was a major contribution as to why these immigrant children were seeking for jobs. They lived in the slums of some of the biggest urban areas and worked in cruel conditions.

The main businesses where children were exploited included textile industries, tobacco factories, machine shops, flourmills, coalmines, shoe factories, and carpet plants (Whittaker, 2004). The children put up with these form of jobs to provide for their families. In most industries, the children worked around big and dangerous machines, which they did not have sufficient knowledge on how to operate. The children were exploited since as much as they did a lot, they were paid less than the adults who did the same amount of work. Their health and social well-being was affected by their everyday work. Other examples of child labor include shoeshine boys, telegraph messengers, and newspapers delivery boys. They were affected in their health since they worked through all weather seasons. Those in the industries were at the risk of being hurt by the machines. Their social and mental health was also affected by the work to which they were subjected.

The industrialization came with a shift in the gender roles as well. Women were now required to work in the factories and industries as the need for increased workforce arose. In the 1830s to the 1840s, women were discouraged from working in the mills but it later changed as women were accepted to work in the factories operating heavy machinery just like their male counterparts. The women working in the mills as operatives maintained their social correctness by earning their wage with which they supported their families. The roles however changed and women were though of as homemakers and their husbands were looked at as the sole breadwinners in a family. Gender roles for men changed and more men were required to work hard for long hours in the factories, in their homes and even outside their communities.

Women working in the mills became engaged with reform movements for example anti-slavery groups. Dublin (n.d) states that some women from Lowell sent petitions to Washington that were against the slavery practices in the District of Columbia and against the war in Mexico. The experiences by these industrious women portray that they were not only brought together by the factory work but they also stood for a common course. It was a chance that presented them with an experience that supported them to participate in the world of broader social reform (Dublin, n.d).

Gender roles therefore had both negative and positive effects depending on whom it affected. It presented the men the duty of becoming the sole breadwinners for their families hence making them toil and work harder. They had their roles defined as well. Those who chose to quit working in the factories concentrated in taking care of the homes while the ones who remained in the industrialization participated in other important matters such as standing against slavery. Dunlin (n.d) gives an example of Mary Emerson, the leader in Lowell’s ten-hour movement who attended a women’s rights convention in Worcester, Massachusetts. She shared the broad reform perspective that launched woman mill workers into labor protest in these two decades and contributed to the widening perspectives of American women in politics and social reform in the mid-nineteenth century.

Industrialization dealt a major blow on the Native Americans. The tribes whose numerous large portions of land were cogently taken were forced on to smaller sections in other parts of the country (Porter, 2007). The numerous growth of the companies lead to the need of building more factories. This took a lot of land and eventually the Native Americans who had vast portions of land were caught in the middle. The building of the railway tracks also required to pass through their lands. Most of these Native Americans stayed to fight for and preserve their heritage while others opted to move to the land they were provided for.  After the passing of the Indian Removal Act, they continued with their struggle for sovereignty.

In summary, industrialization brought about changes in how businesses were performed, the modes of transportation, and cased an economic and social revolution. Industrialization affected the lives of many average-working Americans in different ways. It affected the production methods from made at home to the use of machines. Technological advancements in energy were brought about example steam power and fossils fuels like coal. The use of machines increased efficiency among the workers and most importantly save the employers saved on the cost of labor. The working Americans experienced many changes since some had to move closer to their jobs thus creating a major shift of people to the urban areas. This created a lot of congestion in the towns and cities and soon small slums were mushrooming.








Connolly, S. (2003). The Industrial Revolution. Chicago: Heinemann Library.

Dublin, T. (n.d). Women and the early industrial revolution in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/jackson-lincoln/essays/women-and-early-industrial-revolution-united-states

Hillstrom, K., & Hillstrom, L. C. (2005). The industrial revolution in America. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

Porter, J. (2007). Place and native American Indian history & culture. Oxford [u.a.: Lang.

Rees, J. (2013). Industrialization and the transformation of American life: A brief introduction. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

Whittaker, W. G. (2004). Child labor in America: History, policy, and legislative issues. New York: Novinka Books









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