COMMERCIAL CHANGES OF THE OPENING YEARS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.
Growth of population and industry, 1900 to 1910, 313; of agricultural industries, 313; of manufacturing, 315; of minerals, 316; of forest products, 316. Development of transportation and internal trade, 316. Growth of electric railways and the use of electricity, 317. Waterway improvement and projects, 318. Public regulation of transportation and commerce, 319. Regulation of corporations, 321. Revision of the tariff, 322. The conservation movement, 323.
In the preceding chapters there has been given a brief description of the development of the United States during the nineteenth century from an economic position of comparative insignificance to a place of importance among the rich and powerful nations of the world. Rapid as was the material progress of the country during the nineteenth century, the opening of the twentieth century held promise for growth yet more rapid. The number of people in the country was increasing and there was room for millions more; the products of agriculture were enlarging steadily; the natural resources were being drawn upon each year for a larger and larger quantity of fuel and raw materials; manufacturing was growing at an unprecedented rate; new industries were rising in response to new wants and needs; new sources of power were being utilized; new discoveries, new inventions, and new methods were multiplying the productivity of all industry; the entire machinery of production and distribution was gaining in efficiency and power.
As civilization advances each century builds upon a heritage from centuries gone before. The achievement of the nineteenth century was the foundation upon which the century to come was to build. The opening of the new century gave promise that the progress of the United States was to continue not only through using the fruits of former success, but also through the uprooting of old evils and the redemption of old faults. As was pointed out in another place, though the efforts to solve the great economic problems of the latter part of the nineteenth century had not met with a large measure of success before the century closed, there were nevertheless distinct indications that the immediate future would witness more determined efforts to secure a readjustment of the unsatisfactory conditions in the industrial system. The fruits of these efforts, together with the steady improvement in general material welfare, constitute the significant features of the economic history of the United States during the opening years of the twentieth century.
That the promise which the beginning of the century seemed to have for a continuance of material progress was not false was amply demonstrated by the achievements of the first decade of the new century.