Thematic essay question (Jun. 07) Theme: Change — Industrialization

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Theme: Change — Industrialization

During the 19th century, the United States experienced tremendous industrial

growth. This industrial growth resulted in many changes in American life.

Identify two changes in American life that resulted from industrial growth in the

United States and for each change:

• Explain how industrialization contributed to this change

• Discuss one positive or one negative effect of this change on American life
You may use any appropriate change in American life that resulted from industrial growth.

Some suggestions you might wish to consider include increased immigration, new inventions

or technologies, growth of labor unions, growth of monopolies, growth of reform movements,

and increased urbanization.

You are not limited to these suggestions

Body 1 – One change that resulted from industrial growth in the United States was


Body 1 – Industrialization contributed to this change by

Factories were first built in the northern cities beginning in 1793. Other factories were

built throughout New England. These factories were protected by US policies, like protective tariffs. As more and more factories were built, there came a greater need for workers. The US government allowed for an Open Immigration Policy. At first, immigrants from Northern & Western Europe came during the Old Wave and the Middle Wave. Starting in the 1880’s, new immigrants came from Southern & Eastern Europe, creating the First New Wave. Also, people moved from rural areas to the cities in an attempt to make a better life for themselves by getting a factory position.

Body 1 – One negative effect of this change on American life was

Overcrowding. Cities became filled these waves of immigrants. Millions of immigrants

came from England, Ireland, Italy, Poland, China, and Japan. Although some assimilated into American society according to the melting pot theory, many immigrants lived in ghettos, like “Jewtown” in New York City, or within their own communities, like “Little Italy” in Chicago or “Chinatown” in San Francisco. In these areas, immigrants adhered more to the pluralist theory, retaining much of their own language and customs. Because these immigrants did not blend in, they became easy targets for gangs and nativists, who hated immigrants. Also, the overcrowding forced immigrants to find housing anywhere they could, like in sewage filled areas like The Five Points or in tenement buildings across every city. These contained dirty living conditions and they were chronicled in Jacob Riis’ book How the Other Half Lives.
Body 2 – One change that resulted from industrial growth in the United States was

Political Corruption

Body 2 – Industrialization contributed to this change by

the companies merging together through consolidation and under the idea of Social

Darwinism to create powerful trusts and monopolies. Huge corporations like John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust and Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel used their fortunes to bribe public officials. The power of trusts over the US government, specifically over the Senate, can be see in the political cartoons titled “Vulture’s Roost” and “Bosses of the Senate.” Also during the Gilded Age, political bosses like Boss Tweed, who controlled Tammany Hall, were infamous for stealing money from the public treasuries to enrich themselves.

Body 2 – One positive effect of this change on American life was

the development of the Progressive Era. Progressives attempted to expand democracy

and then use the reformed government to correct the economic and social problems caused by industrialization. Muckrakers, like Thomas Nast, created political cartoons to expose criminals like Boss Tweed. Other muckrakers, like Upton Sinclair, exposed other problems. Specifically, Sinclair wrote The Jungle and chronicled the horrible practices of the meat packing industry. Works like this convinced politicians to change things. This is why President Teddy Roosevelt passed the Pure Food & Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906.

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