• During and after the Civil War, in the late 1800s, the United States industrialized.
• Industrialization is the development of machinery and factories to produce goods.
• Factories use mass production techniques, including an assembly line. These techniques allowed factories to produce goods rapidly.
• Corporations are large companies owned by many, often thousands of, shareholders. Many corporations were founded in the late 1800s.
• New factories were built in cities, using machines to produce steel, oil, and goods.
• As a result, thousands of people moved from farms (rural areas) to cities (urban areas).
• The growth of cities is called urbanization.
• Immigrants came to America in large numbers beginning in the 1840s.
• There were two waves of immigration:
o Old Wave (1840-1880): Most immigrants were from northern and western Europe (Irish, German, English). The Irish faced discrimination because they were Catholic.
o New Wave (1880-1920): Most immigrants were from southern and eastern Europe (Italian, Greek, Russian). Second Wave immigrants faced more discrimination because of their darker skin, varied languages, and different religions.
• Immigrants were inspected at Ellis Island, then usually moved to tenements in cities.
• Immigration was encouraged because factories needed more and more workers.
• The Statue of Liberty, including its poem “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was a symbol of America’s acceptance of immigrants.
• Factory workers faced long hours, poor working conditions, and the threat of being fired if they complained.
• The worst example was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where dozens of women died in a fire when no fire escapes were available.
• These problems led workers to form labor unions. Unions demanded better conditions and went on strike if employers didn’t accept their demands.
• Unions convinced the government to pass laws that created safer working conditions.
• Problems in society led people to fight for reform. Reformers were called Progressives.
• Muckrakers were Progressive reformers who wrote news articles and books that drew attention to problems in society. For example, Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle about the meatpacking industry.
• Progressives argued that the government should regulate big businesses. For example, the Sherman Antitrust Act kept companies from forming monopolies and eliminating competition.
• Women won the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.