AP United States History
January 22, 2013
Document Based Question
The United States changed drastically after the civil war mainly because of industrialization. Corporations became powerful and significantly grew, changing the dynamic of America. What once used to be a country that consisted of puritan societies is now the largest industrial center of the world. Between 1870 and 1900 the impact of big business affected the economy (Agriculture v. Mass production), politics (Monopolies v. Labor unions), and even the American people (employment opportunities v. Discrimination).
Railroads controlled almost everything, including the economy. The railroad president “can fix the price of freights, and thus command the food” supplies of the nation (Doc B). Improved agricultural innovations drastically reduced food prices (Doc A), which led many farmers to become discontent. Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb allowed for twenty-four hour production, longer work days, and night shifts. This led to mass production of goods, which combined with improved transportation allowed for department stores to open. Retail is what drew people into the city (Doc I), and job opportunities (Doc J) are what kept them from ever leaving.
“This is a senate of the monopolists by the monopolists and for the monopolists” (Doc D), clearly indicates that the senate is controlled by the big businesses. John D. Rockefeller was a monopolist that used horizontal integration in order to put his competitors out of business (Doc H). Small businesses believed that it was the government’s job to protect and defend them against unfair practices such as the ones used by Rockefeller. The populist platform wanted to work towards being able to elect the senators (Doc F) so that monopolies were no longer present. Labor unions were created because mass production quickly became dehumanizing (Doc G) due to specialization of labor (Doc C). Workers became...