10.30- Social Darwinism and American Capitalism

10.30- Social Darwinism and American Capitalism - Social...

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10/30/08 Social Darwinism and American Capitalism I. The Economic Transformation of America -after the Civil War, America transforms into a capitalist nature and culture -political thought goes through a colossal flip-flop, producing many new political attitudes that remain dominant to this day -population more than doubles between 1860- 1910 -agricultural to industrial-based economy -1860-70- factory production increases in the North by 70% -1900- manufactured product worth 2.5x more than agricultural product -in 1860, 20% in cities, by 1915- 50% in cities -United States rural population doubles, urban population up 700% -25 million immigrants from 1840-1915 -NYC had as many Germans as Hamburg, twice as many Irish as Dublin, and half as many Italians than Naples II. The “American Spirit” vs. the New Economic Reality -Lincoln and prior presidents saw America as a nation of small business owners, yeomen, and non-wage workers -workers without capital would eventually become independent through hard work and perhaps going west -codified by Horatio Alger (1832-1898) -son of a Massachusetts minister -also a minister, then defrocked on grounds of pederasty -unofficial Poet Laureate of the post-CW industrial age -wrote 119 novellas about urchins who rise from rags to riches through hard work -staple of the American myth of success -Post-Civil War made it more and more difficult to make it on ones own -monopolies, trusts, economic concentration succeeded the individual entrepreneur
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