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Industrial revolution and big business (1800-1914) - america



1.4.1 Industrial Development/ The Industrial Revolution was accelerated by American inventions (e.g. Bell's telephone, Edison's electric bulb,.)
Transportation helped to open up the continent rapidly. Canals, and transcontinental Railways helped to colonize even the most distant region. American agriculture became the most efficient in the world through American inventions. For instance the cotton gin or the binding and threshing machines, which were developed into enormous combined machines for the complete processing of the crops. As a result of the declining imports during the Napoleonic Wars the industry developed rapidly to provide goods for the home market. Even the commercial life was revolutionized by the typewriter.


1.4.2 Rise of the Big Business

Due to big businessmen, who rose to dominant positions in key industries and crushed competitors by ruthless methods. The most prominent men to apply the characteristic "rugged individualism" of the frontier to the fields of financing and industrial production were Carnegie (steel), Rockefeller (oil), Pierpont Morgan (banking), Kaiser (heavy industry), Ford (automobiles), Du Pont (gun powder, later chemical industries), Vanderbilt and Harriman (eastern railroads) and Hill (transcontinental railroads).
Consolidation of business, merging smaller companies into large corporations, was favoured by the necessity for large amounts of capital to utilize the vast resources and span the huge distances of a gigantic continent.

1.4.3 Import of Labour

Import of cheap labour for mines, factories and railroad building (10 million people between 1905 and 1914) brought a new wave of immigration. From southern and eastern Europe came Italians, Greeks, Poles, Lithuanians, Galician Jews, from Asia Chinese and Japanese.
Immigrants from less developed countries were mostly illiterate, hat no experience in self-government and were accustomed to a very low standard of living. Congregating in alien "islands" of large cities, often with no intention of staying permanently and of learning English, they were difficult to integrate and often formed an element of unrest.


1.4 .4 Overseas Expansion (1863- 1917)

With and expanding industry seeking foreign markets for American products and growing interest in the Pacific after settlement of the Far West, imperialism began to replace isolationism and reached its climax under presidents Mc Kinley and Theodore Roosevelt at the beginning of the 20th century.
Japan, which hat excluded foreigners, was opened to American trade through an agreement in 1853. In 1863, a joint naval action by England and the USA opened the country completely to the outside world.
After the opening of Chinese ports to foreign trade following the Opium War, 1842, foreign powers began to compete for political and commercial influence in China. When the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900 was suppressed by Western powers, the USA pleaded for the preservation of Chinese independence and an open-door policy.
Some smaller island, like the virgin island, were bought or conquered later by the Americans.

 
 
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