Chapter 18—The Industrial Society
Centenial Exposition held in Philly:
occupied 180 buildings and attracted 9 million
visitors, about 1/5 of the countries population at the time. Linoleum, root beer, the exotic
banana, bicycle. Machinery was the focus—telephone, whirring machines turned out
bricks, chewing tobacco, and other products. Typewriters, elevators, railroad air brakes,
Corliss engine—a giant steam engine.
Fed by an abundance of natural resources: coal, iron, timber, petroleum,
Nearly 8 million immigrants arrived in the 1870s and 1880s; another 15 million
came between 1890 and 1914—large figures for a nation whose total population in 1900
was about 76 million people.
Eager to promote economic growth, government at all levels—federal, state, and
local—gave manufacturers money, land, and other resources. Other
benefits flowed from
the American system of government: stability, commitment to the concept of privae
property, and initially at least, a reluctance to regulate industrial activity.
taking steps crucial for industrialization, the organized, managed,
and assured the financial risks of the new enterprises. Admirers called them captains of
industry; foes labeled them robber barons.
Concentrated in the NE, where in 1890, more than 85% of America’s manufactured
goods originated. The more sparsely settled west provided raw materials, while the south,
although making major gains in iron, textiles, and tobacco, had to rebuild after wartime