THE U.S. HISTORY THEME 5
TheUnited States’ History Theme
TheUnited States’ History Theme
Theend of the American Civil War marked the beginning of industrialdevelopment in the entire nation (Hummel, 2013). A country that waspreviously ravaged by war took a turn and then directed its effortstowards nation building through economic revival and social cohesion.Thus, it is vital to describe industry development, labor, andbusiness during the post-war period.
Significantprogress occurred in the transport sector. The entire Americaneconomy was supported by railroad. As such, railroad corporationslike the Pennsylvania Railroad were among the biggest employers.Estimates show that between 1896 and1890, 20 percent of America’srailroad was under construction (Domhoff, 2013). The railroads werethe backbone of the industrial economy since they eased the transportof goods.
ThePost-Civil War Petroleum Industry in America recorded a boom(Lapsansky, Levy, Roberts & Taylor, 2013). The entire nation wasshifting its focus from war to commercial production. There was anincrease in demand for fossil fuels to run the growing industrieslike transport and manufacturing. The Standard Oil Company was one ofthe major players in this industry. During this period, the steelindustry also registered significant developments. Iron was needed bythe expanding construction and manufacturing industries. It was themajor component in the making of railroads hence integral indeveloping the American transport sector.
Thesuccess of industry leaders was due to their farsightedness. AndrewCarnegie played a vital role in enhancing steel production (Lapsanskyet al., 2013). A Scottish immigrant, Carnegie initial contributionwas the purchase of stocks in various companies making steel bridgesand railroads. He then proceeded to build one of the largest steelmills in Pennsylvania. Another influential industry leader was JohnD. Rockefeller. He founded the Standard Oil Company and later madeinvestments in the agriculture industry. The Post-Civil Warleadership promoted unity hence its success. Many independentconcerns amalgamated with rival entities forming great companies. Forinstance, Gustavo Swift and Philip Amour joined forces with otherplayers to form the Beef Trust, a major player in meatpacking(Domhoff, 2013).
Thelabor unions originated from the industrial revolution during theemergence of a free wage-labor market (Domhoff, 2013). Industrialdevelopment created demand for unskilled factory laborers. Anoversupply of labor made individual workers expendable and encouragedemployers to decrease wages. The above problems coupled with poorworking conditions necessitated an organized labor movement. In 1842,the Supreme Court of Massachusetts upheld the right of workers tounionized labor (Cobb, 2015). In 1866, the National Labor Union wasformed to represent both skilled and unskilled workers. The laborunions continued to grow, and their membership peaked at 1970 beforestarting to decline.
The labor unions registered success on many fronts (Hummel, 2013).These unions ensured that the job security of their members wasguaranteed. Previously, the oversupply of labor meant that workerswere expendable, but with the unions, the opposite was true. Thelabor movement fought for better compensation of their members andwas successful in ensuring that the workers could live on theirwages. They were instrumental in advocating for reasonable workinghours. Eventually, these unions gifted the employees an eight-hourwork day. Workplace safety was a primary concern across the entirenation. The industrial development resulted in workplaces with poorsafety conditions. However, the labor unions fought for a safe andhealthy workplace. As such, labor unions ensured that the employersobserved the rights of their employees. The labor movement representsthe foundation of the modern work environment.
Tosum up, it is clear that the Post-Civil War period ushered in an eraof industrial development. Various sectors of the economy likeagriculture, petroleum, and steel industries registered massivegrowth. Such development was in part due to the contribution ofindustry leaders like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Thisdevelopment was accompanied by concerns about the welfare of Americanworkers hence the emergence and growth of labor unions. The labormovement was successful in championing the rights of the workers,thereby improving their well-being.
Cobb,J. C. (2015). Industrializationand southern society, 1877-1984.University Press of
Domhoff,W.G. (2013). TheRiseand fall of Labor Unions in the U.S. Retrieved From http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/history_of_labor_unions.html
Hummel,J. (2013). Emancipatingslaves, enslaving free men: a history of the American civil
war. Open Court Publishers: Chicago
Lapsansky,E. J., Levy, P. B., Roberts, R., & Taylor, A. (2013). UnitedStates history.Pearson: