- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Evolution of the Nation

By:   •  Research Paper  •  1,676 Words  •  January 26, 2010  •  895 Views

Page 1 of 7

Join now to read essay Evolution of the Nation

Evolution of the Nation

Jonathan Fielding

University of Phoenix

Evolution of the Nation

During the post Civil War time period, 1865 to 1945, the United States of America was a rapidly changing country. There were many different reforms taking place in the economic, political, and urban systems. The American industry was rising. New inventions, westward expansion, and new federal laws were making the country a melting pot of cultures from around the world. Also during this time period the nation experienced the progressive movement, economic collapse, the great depression, and President Roosevelt’s New Deal. This paper will discuss the evolution of the United States in westward expansion, urbanization, and politics, as well as the rise of American industry, the economic collapse of 1873, and the causes of the great depression.

American industries were booming post civil war. The transcontinental railroad was instrumental in the progress of the nation’s industrial movement, and the westward expansion. The railroad required tons of steel, and wood, which was provided though the steel and wood factories. The railroad created many jobs throughout the nation, according to PBS, “Railroads were the nation's largest non-agricultural employer. Banks and other industries were putting their money in railroads.” This meant that industries other than the railroad and banks were spending money to get the railway build so they could continue their westward expansion.

The industry that would benefit the most from the westward expansion was agriculture. The north and southern parts of the country offered little opportunity for a new farmer. The westward expansion promised land through various land grants offered by the government. The farmers were not the only ones who would benefit from the west. The cattle industry was also booming during the time due to the large open free grazing ranges that did not exist in the north or the south.

The agriculture industry was not only expanding, it was making farming a more profitable through the inventions of equipment used to work the ground. Before all the ground was worked by hand with a hoe, but with the invention of the horse drawn plows, planters, and combines, the ability to work several hundred acres rather a five or ten made the production of food, cotton, and other crops soar. By 1870 the American “Total population: 38,558,371; farm population: 18,373,000 (est.); farmers 53% of labor force; Number of farms: 2,660,000; average acres: 153” (Ag.) All of these statistics had grown since 1860 with the exception of the labor force. Due to the new innovations in cultivation and harvesting less man power was needed for more acres.

Now that the two railroads have come together in Utah, a second railway called the Northern Pacific was too built to connect the upper west regions of Oregon and Washington. A man by the name of Jay Cooke, who owned his own financial company and was instrumental in the selling bonds and financing the transcontinental railroad, began pouring money into this the Northern Pacific railroad. This railway would provide access to the gold that was found in the Oregon territory. Unfortunately Jay Cooke and Company who’s “…firm was the financial agent in this venture, and poured money into it. On September 18, the firm realized it had overextended itself and declared bankruptcy.”(1999-2001) The collapse of Cooke’s firm created a chain reaction that sweep the nation. Other financial firms and industries were forced into the same fate of having to declare bankruptcy. The economic collapse of 1873 produced staggering numbers of lost businesses and unemployment. According to PBS, “A total of 18,000 businesses failed in a mere two years. By 1876, unemployment had risen to a frightening 14 percent.”

America was not only expanding to the west, each major city was growing as well. Since the rise of big business, factories were normally located near the urban areas of each city. Immigrants and rural American’s would move to these large cities looking for work. Naturally people live close to wear they work, and since the factories and other big business were all located near large cities, most of the people would end up living in the cities. Since most of these cities could not grow fast enough to sustain all the people who were moving in from the country side and emigrating from other countries, the cities were in very poor condition. Building were going up so fast that the city could not keep up with new building codes and could not make sure all the structures were truly safe. Buildings were not the only major problem in the cities, sewer systems and fresh water pipes

Continue for 6 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Evolution of the Nation and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)