Concentration and Control: A Solution of the Trust Problem in the United States

By Charles Hise R. Van | Go to book overview

CONCENTRATION AND CONTROL

INTRODUCTION

. THE history of industry in the United States may be divided into two great periods, that antecedent to the Civil War of 1861-1865, and that following this conflict. In the years preceding the Civil War the Middle West became settled. A few railroads had crept as far west as the Mississippi River. The large cities east of that great north-south water thoroughfare were thus connected. The railroads were wide apart; their efficiency as compared with present times was small. West of the Mississippi River the population was sparse. That part of the country was still in its frontier stage, with the exception of portions of California and Oregon.

The Civil War divides two industrial periods

Under the conditions above given many small manufactories had grown up to meet the needs of the communities in which they existed. Indeed manufacture in a small way had begun in the eastern cities before the end of the eighteenth century.

During the first half of the nineteenth century there was steady and slow expansion of manufacture, not mainly by increasing the size of plants which already existed, but by the multiplication of plants wherever a clientele was found in the township, county, or district. Thus in the Middle West during these times almost every community had its gristmill run by the power of the adjacent creek or small river. Similarly there were many small plants for the smelting of iron. For the most part these were located adjacent to small banks of iron ore, and especially in districts where coal and limestone were near at hand to serve for fuel and flux. The great drift to the cities had not yet begun, and a large proportion of the population was rural, 87.5 per cent in 1850, and 83.9 per cent in 1860.

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