Industrial America in the Twentieth Century: Documents

Industrial America in the Twentieth Century: Documents

Industrial America in the Twentieth Century: Documents

Industrial America in the Twentieth Century: Documents

Excerpt

The United States became an industrial nation in the second half of the nineteenth century. Between 1859 and 1899, manufacturing output multiplied seven-and-a-half times. In the process the United States far outdistanced Great Britain, the industrial leader of the nineteenth century, and transformed itself from an agricultural nation (in 1859 farm production was twice as valuable as manufacturing) to an industrial empire (in 1899 manufacturing output was one-and-a-half times larger in value than farming). By the beginning of the twentieth century, American industrialization had run its first course-natural resources had been discovered and developed, railroad networks were finished, basic industrial plants had been built, and mass- production methodology had matured.

The industrial economy never became static. New products, improved methods, and expanding output formed essential ingredients of recent American history. But such changes were, basically, extensions of the base laid before 1900. The new dimension has not been the continuing process of industrialization, but the problems it raised and the responses it evoked from American society. This aspect of American industrial history constitutes the theme of the present volume of source readings.

Emerging just at the turn of the century, the first consequence of industrial growth involved fundamental questions of power.

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