The American economy
Factors affecting growth of the American economy in the late 1800s were the development of railroads between factory towns and the transcontinental railroad, reducing shipping time for goods. The Bessemer process made high-quality steel cheaper to produce. The telephone and telegraph made communication possible over long distances. Immigrants provided an abundant, cheap, supply of labor. The Homestead Strike of 1892 pitted the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) against Carnegie Steel. It was the first organized large-scale strike.
The AA eventually gave in and lost support among other labor unions. It eventually disbanded. For the next forty years, Carnegie steel plants were not unionized. In 1877, Baltimore and Ohio railroad workers in West Virginia went on strike. The strike spread as far east as Philadelphia, and as far west as Illinois. As a result, unions became better organized, and the number of strikes increased. Holding companies, trusts, and mergers reduce competition. Less competition means fewer choices in the market place, and a tendency towards fixed prices.
Yellow journalism is reporting that emphasizes sensational stories with little informative content over real news. Its modern day equivalent is tabloid journalism. As a result of the Spanish-American War, Spain lost her remaining colonies in the western hemisphere. The United States annexed them, built naval bases in the Pacific, iand became a more powerful nation. After the Spanish-American War, the United States annexed the Phillipine Islands. At the same time, a revolutionary group on the islands declared independence from Spain.
Neither the United States or Spain recognized this group, and American forces defeated them in a war fought from 1898 to 1902. New immigrants to the United States who arrived in the late 19 th, and early 20 th, centuries were less likely to know English or be familiar with American society and customs that those who came before them. They were more likely to be exploited by employers, and easier to hire as strike-breakers. Andrew Carnegie believed in what came to be known as The Gospel Of Wealth. Contributions to charities were to provide the greatest benefit for the most people, and not serve as handouts.
Public libraries, also known as Carnegie libraries, would give more people more tools to better themselves. The American Federation Of Labor was a grouping of labor and trade unions whose goal was better working conditions. The Knights of Labor operated more like a fraternal organization, more secretly and less publically, than the AFL. It allowed employers to become members, and supported strike-breaking. Manifest destiny is the connection between imperialism and the American frontier. It’s a belief that the United States was ordained by God to acquire land as far as the Pascific Ocean.
Some believed that it meant the United States was destined to control the entire North American continent. A canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Panama had been a dream for centuries. The Panama canal opened in 1914, and cut several thousand miles from the distance between Atlantic and Pacific markets. Before 1899, many industrial nations claimed exclusive rights to trade each in their own sphere of influence in China. The American Open Door Policy sought to allow equal access of every nation to all parts of China.
Theodore Roosevelt’s corollary (amendment) to the Monroe Doctrine allowed the United States to manage the economies of North American nations unable to pay their international debts, while preventing countries in Europe from doing so. Alfred Thayer Mahan argued that the source of power for all great nations was the ability of their naval forces to control the seas, and thus sea trade. The Nineteenth Amendment, ratified in 1920, declared that the right to vote could not be denied based on one’s sex. It was written specifically to give women the right to vote.
In 1900, about one of every six children between ages five and ten worked. The National Child Labor Committee, while unable to remove children from the workplace, advocated better working conditions for them. The Committee succeeded in passing one law, that was declared unconstitutional. It sponsored a constitutional amendment that was never passed. Not until 1938 would working conditions for children come under government control. The policy of “separate but equal,” affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 1896, prevented American schools from becoming integrated. Separate did not always mean equal.
Schools for black students often received less public funds per student that did schools for white students. A growing economy needs more markets, easier access to more markets, and more natural resources. A country whose economy is growing needs more land for farms to feed its growing population. All were used as arguments for expansion, or manifest destiny, in the last half of the 1800s. Land west of the American frontier had abundant natural resources. It was more fertile, and better for growing crops and raising cattle. Pacific ports would give the United States access to the Far East.
As a result of the American victory in the Spanish-American War, Cuba became an independent country. The United States annexed former Spanish colonies Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Phillipines, and established naval bases there. Vertically integrated companies produce different products that fill the same need. A horizontally integrated company sells one product in many different markets. Upton Sinclair wrote over ninety novels, and was a social activist in the early twentieth century. Many of his novels exposed the evils of capitalism and its negative effect on working people. Alfred T.
Mahan was a former navy officer, a writer, and instructor at the Naval War College. He believed that a country with a strong navy would control international trade and be victorious in war, as the United States was in the Spanish-American War. In the novel Looking Backwards, published in 1888, a man falls asleep and dreams he’s in the year 2000, when American society is more socialist and utopian. The book inspired several refore movements and utopian communities. William Howard Taft fooolwed Theodore Roosevelt as president on the United States. Like Roosevelt, he broke up trusts.
He also established the civil service, and later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, The Rough Riders were a cavalry until of the United States Army. They served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and helped Cuba win its independence from Spain. Commodore George Dewey led the United States Navy to victory at Manila, Phillipines, in the first battle of the Spanish-American War. He later became the first Admiral of the Navy. A trust exists when one company is formed to control all companies that manufacture a particular product. The existence of a trust reduces competition and gives the public fewer choices in the market place.
Prices, and the quality of service, become fixed. In Social Darwinism, individuals, groups, or nations, as animal species do, evolve through competition. Jane Addams fought for the civil rights of immigrants, an eight hour work day, and suffrage for women. In Chicago, she opened Hull House, the first community activities center. Theodore Roosevelt became the twenty-sixth president of the United States in 1901, when William McKinely was assassinated. At age forty-two, he was the youngest President. He became known as “trust-busting Teddy. ” Woodrow Wilson was president when the United States entered World War I.
In his Fourteen Points speech, he saw a world free of the nationalism that had led to the war’s start. The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by Upton Sinclair. In it, he exposed the harsh working conditions faced by workers in America’s meat-packing factories. A monopoly exists when one company has enough control over the manufacture of a product to dictate its price. “Suffrage” comes from a Latin word that means “voting tablet. ” In American English, it means the right to vote. It became associated with the efforts, around the turn of the century, to allow American women to vote.Sample Essay of Edusson.com