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March 31, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american history, history

The growth of industry in the last half of the 19th century laid the foundation for American economy of the 20th century [1] . The expansion was driven by large-scale industrial development and railroads that led to an urbanized industry primarily in the Northeast , and promoted population increase through immigration at a rate of 300 ,000 persons per year . The second half of the 19th century brought an explosion of new discoveries and inventions that amounted to a “second industrial revolution ” Examples included : petroleum discoveries , typewrites refrigerated railway cars , telephone , phonograph , car , electric [banner_entry_middle]

and the airplane . These inventions enabled the rise of the business tycoon who amassed a vast financial empire , and had tremendous influence on the further development of the U .S . economy . The great tycoons were fierce competitors , singleminded in their pursuit of financial success and power . Among the giants were Jay Gould , J .P . Morgan , Andrew Carnegie John D . Rockefeller and Henry Ford . Some of these men were honest according to business standards of their day others used force , bribery and guile to achieve their wealth and power . Their example and the fact that most Americans — living in a society with a more fluid class structure — embraced the idea of moneymaking with enthusiasm created the impetus for the American economic engine at the beginning of the 20th century . The era of progressivism is characterized by the reluctance of the US government to get too involved in the private sector . This freed everyone to do whatever they could to get ahead , and ultimately proved the downfall of many small and large business men by the time of the Great Depression (1929-1940 . The tremendous growth of the economy was unsustainable , and the lack of regulations meant that the inevitable slow down affected different economic sectors disproportionately and severely . The 1929 stock market crash had brought on the most serious economic dislocation in the nation ‘s history . The New Deal enacted by Roosevelt ‘s attempt to alleviate the emergency and prevent it in the future by extending federal authority in all fields notably banking , agriculture , social security and public welfare . It gave immediate attention to labor problems , creating minimum standards for wages , hours , relief and security — and served as a catalyst for the expansion of labor unions in such industries as steel , automobiles and rubber . During this period organized labor unions were developed as a grass roots response to business past excesses

The US economy probably would have returned to its original condition with relatively low government interference in the direction it evolved (though with the newly instituted checks and balances put in place by the New Deal ) eventually but the outbreak of WWII in which the US played a major role economically and technologically in contrast to WWI . The U .S . government was compelled to intervene in the economy as it never had before . The War Production Board was created to coordinate the nation ‘s productive capabilities so that military priorities would be met . Converted consumer-products plants… [banner_entry_footer]


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