Research Paper: Post-Civil War Era

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Industrialization of American following the Civil War had a profound effect on almost all aspects of American society. The failed of Reconstruction all but condemned the South to economic backwardness and social strife. The expansion into the West contributed to the decimation of Native Americans, but allowed for the nation to coalesce into its modern form. In the east, industrialization reshaped the cities, the government's approach to business and society, and laid the foundations for the country to become a world economic superpower with size and scope of industry, fueled by oil and immigration.

Major Aspect of Industrialization

Industrialization after the Civil War influenced the U.S. In many different ways. The social geography of America changed significantly during that era, as a result of shifting employment patterns. Railroads facilitated the spread of American industry westward, as the growth of railroads allowed for communities in the West to have access to more markets -- the West was no longer remote. This in turn fostered the growth of larger cities all across the nation. The old pattern of small stores, and craftsmen producing goods on a small scale allowed for smaller communities to exist and thrive. With larger factories and railroads, the scale of cities began to match the scale of production. The large factories existed because technology allowed for it, because they were more profitable, and because railroads opened more markets. But larger factories needed hundreds if not thousands of workers, and this gave rise to many of America's large cities. Before this era, there was little urbanization in America, just in a handful of centers on the Eastern Seaboard. Industrialization fostered the growth of major cities across the country, as towns arose from major factories. This represented a major change in America's social life, sparking the era of urbanization that continues to this day.

Politics were also changed. The massive reorganization of society represented by industrialization resulted in shifting political priorities as well, to match the direction of society's changes. Schultz notes that politicians began to emphasize big business, as that body represented the largest concentration of wealth in society. This meant not only a shift away from the Reconstruction priority of the status of African-Americans but a shift away from the needs of ordinary Americans as well. Politics began increasing corrupt during this period as well, and laws passed reflected the needs mainly of big business, until a backlash occurred in the early 20th century.

Social organization was another aspect of industrialization that changed during the industrialization of America. The Populist Party emerged to defend the interests of farmers, other politicians rallied new immigrants, and labor unions began to emerge in the latter part of the 19th century. The result of these changes would set the stage for the social power dynamic in America for most of the next 100 years. These movements all arose in response to political corruption and the growing influence of big business, and would eventually coalesce into powerful movements that shifted power back away from big business in a meaningful way. Laws would eventually be passed regarding both labor and consumer protections, allowing American governance and society to take on a look more familiar today.


Many groups were affected by industrialization. Immigrants kept coming to America in waves, but instead of settling in the farms -- some did -- many ended up fuelling the growth of cities by taking labor jobs in factories. Tenements were hastily thrown together. These immigrants groups typically struggled to assimilate but were able to lay the foundation for future generations. Industrialization also profoundly changed the African-American experience in America as well. It has been noted that the political priorities of the era moved away from African-American integration, and the result was that they were never fully brought into American society. The result were Jim Crow laws, lynchings and other aspects of this failure -- African-Americans remained the lowest rung of American society. That the issues of slavery and racism were never fully resolved, a condition in part brought about by industrialization, affects the nation negatively to this day. The only thing that worked in their favor was access to education, something on which they put significant priority during this era, eventually to give rise to generations of black… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Post-Civil War Era.  (2014, April 15).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Post-Civil War Era."  15 April 2014.  Web.  19 May 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Post-Civil War Era."  April 15, 2014.  Accessed May 19, 2019.