Civil War and Industrialization Essay

Many advancements resulted from American industrialization

Many advancements are thought to have resulted from American industrialization, which helped the nation become a global economic powerhouse. Its current standing is due to the economic boost it provided the nation. Jobs became more accessible, technology improved, people learned more, transportation was transformed, and business prospered. However, there were numerous ways in which the average American's existence was negatively impacted. Even though the industrialization process had a beneficial impact on the United States as a whole, it had a significant negative impact on the lives of immigrants, farmers, women, children, and African Americans, who suffered from accidents, a lack of a work-life balance, poverty, and living in appalling conditions. Aspects of Industrialization between 1865 and 1920

Impact on the economy, society, and politics

The economy was certainly one of the areas that benefited from the process of industrialization. Firstly, the process facilitated technological invention, which fostered the building of railroads and improvement of infrastructure in terms of communication networks and the rest. Such an improved system opened up the movement of individuals who could travel from one place to another for business purposes (Murrin, 2012). There was also better communication among business people, something that expanded the economy with a big magnitude. Apart from the economy, another aspect of the industrialization process was the society, which was profoundly impacted by urbanization. People moved to cities in search of better opportunities, and the society became more diverse in nature. Immigration also became prevalent as individuals from other parts of the world wanted to live the American dream. The result was diversity in terms of the cultural affiliations of the American people. Politics is the last aspect of industrialization as it was dynamic because so much weaponry was produced (Murrin, 2012). The period was a dangerous political time as there was a World War in the horizon and many nations struggling for world dominance. As such, the political climate was tense as many countries felt threatened by the position of the USA and the process of acquiring weapons was ongoing. More so, this was a period in which policies such as immigration ones and border security were created as a way to stop the mass immigration that was taking place.

Groups affected by Industrialization

Groups that were affected by Industrialization

Impact on immigrants

The process of industrialization was not kind to immigrants, who found it difficult to adjust to the American way of life even with the formation of many churches to help with the transition. Many immigrants provided unskilled labor for the industries that emerged during this period and earned very little. They had the lowest pay during this time, something that forced them to live in the most horrible parts of the crowded cities as the suburbs were left to those who were well off. Their "ghettos" were crowded and had deficient sanitation standards that led to diseases and the like. More so, the immigrants were always getting injured while in the factories, and some of them succumbed to their injuries because they were unable to afford treatment (Davis & Olsen, 2015). Immigrants were also discriminated against by the natives who thought it was degrading for them to accept lesser pay.

Impact on women

Another group that was affected by immigration was women. For starters, women were openly discriminated against in the industries because they were considered to be of lesser capabilities than their male counterparts. They received lower pay for equal work done even though they too had families for which to care for. Additionally, most women hardly had any time for caring for their families, given that flexibility at the workplace was not something that was considered. They still worked long hours, something that put a strain on their families.

Impact on children

Apart from them, children were also affected by the process of industrialization since they were forced to provide child labor for the factories. It is imperative to note that the process of industrialization was coupled with the growth of so many industries, such that regardless of local labor and that from immigrant, there was still a shortage (Davis & Olsen, 2015). The process of industrialization was also fueled by capitalism that demanded the maximization of profits, thus necessitating the need for cheap labor. As such, children were a resource because they provided cheap labor. They also failed to get enough attention from their parents who were busy working for long hours. Moreover, African Americans were affected in the sense that they provided cheap labor, failed to progress in life and match the economic standards of their white counterparts, faced discrimination, and were doomed to live in the "ghetto" lifestyle that is still a problem to this day (Davis & Olsen, 2015). Lastly, farmers were impacted in the sense that their product was no longer of substantial financial value to the American Economy that was highly industrialized. The massive urbanization also meant that the farmers could not have the same abundance of labor that made their fields thrive.

Industrialization and the life of the average American

The average American did not have time to socialize or be family-oriented because of the process of industrialization and capitalism, in general, demanded that individuals spend many hours working as opposed to having flexibility. Take, for instance, the fact that the average worker spent more than ten hours at the factories and had to come home exhausted and prepare for another similar day. Indeed, it would be ignorance not to acknowledge that industrialization did create jobs and reduced the rate of employment, which was good for the American economy. However, it is also important to note that such jobs were not well-paying, in the sense that the individual remained poor and had to live in horrible conditions to survive (Wagner, 2014). The better jobs, for example, were left to whites, who lived in the suburbs. Thus, as the economy grew and a few people benefited from it, the majority lived miserably. More so, Americans had to survive through the pollution and congestion in the cities, with a majority sustaining different kinds of health conditions. In spite of all this, it should be noted that the literacy level of many improved since some aspired to acquire the better-skilled jobs and improve their living standards, which forced them to go to school (Wagner, 2014).


The industrialization was a time of significant progress whether it was good or bad. It was noticed and presented a future opportunity for change and betterment. America was great; people had hopes and dreams, slavery was over. The agricultural period was changing, and people were moving into the larger cities for jobs. Businesses were booming; technology had significantly increased production from handmade items to the machine made items. Cotton was being spun into yarn by machines which increased the production of thread, and fabrics. Transportation was improved, which allowed the raw material to get to the factories faster. The average wage was increased, and the banking system was loaning money so that people could purchase larger more expensive items on credit. As stated before, today we face many of the same challenges, just on a different spectrum. Without the industrialization, who's to say where we would be as American's today.


Davis, R. H., & Olsen, T. (2015).Life in the iron mills, and other stories. Old Westbury, N.Y: Feminist Press.

Wagner, C. A. (2014). A New Birth of Freedom?: The Impact of the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War on the American Dream. United States: Xlibris Corporation.

Murrin, J. M. (2012). Liberty, equality, power: A history of the American people. Boston, MA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

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