Rise of Industry in the Late 19th Century

During the 1860’s America was in a period of economic hardship due to the ongoing demand for materials and money to fund the war. In the South, sufficient money and materials were hard to acquire because the southern economy still depended on the labor of slaves to produce their goods and income rather than factories. The Northern economy used numerous factories to produce goods and make profit for the war, but they still did not have technology that was advanced enough to easily produce all the necessary materials and money. After the civil war, America embarked on a journey of economic expansion and unification for the nation. In the late 19th century, government policies, technological advancements and population changes contributed to the rise of industry in America.
Many government policies were created in the 19th century to encourage expansion and growth for America. Three very influential policies were the Homestead Act, the Pacific Railway Act and laissez-faire. The homestead act was passed by Congress in 1862 to encourage settlement of western land. It promised any citizen of the United States that was at least 21 years old a homestead of 160 acres under the terms that they paid a 10 dollar registration fee, farmed on the land for 5 years and lived on the land for at least 6 months out of a year. When passed, the act proved a success at allowing huge masses of people to further enlarge and develop America because “settlers from all walks of life including newly arrived immigrants, farmers without land of their own from the East, single women and former slaves came to meet the requirements” (Weiser). The pacific railway act of 1862 provided the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies with federal land grants and funds to construct a transcontinental railway that would unite the country as one. With the completion of the railroad, industry had the opportunity to rise across America because the transportation time of goods, capital, and people

Citations: Chandler, Alfred D. The Beginnings of "Big Business" in American Industry. 1959. American Issues. New York: Glencoe, 1994. 277-80. Print. Evans, Harold. "The Spark of Genius." 2004. American History. Vol. 2. Dubuque: McGraw Hill, 2007. 16-21. Print. George, Henry. "Progress and Poverty." 1879. America 's History. Fourth ed. Vol. 2. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin 's, 2001. 50-51. Print. Riis, Jacob. "Life in the Tenements of New York City." 1890. Voices of the American Past. Second ed. Vol. 2. Orlando: Harcourt College, 2001. 320-22. Print. Story, Jill. “Lecture.” 27 Sept. 2010. Story, Jill. “Lecture.” 5 Oct. 2010. Weiser, Kathy. "The Homestead Act - Creating Prosperity in America."Legends of America - A Travel Site for the Nostalgic and Historic Minded. Apr. 2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. .

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