Social Studies - 2018-19

VUS.8e - Industrialization & Growth of Cities

The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by

e) evaluating and explaining the social and cultural impact of industrialization, including rapid urbanization;

Adopted: 2015


Unit Themes

Unit Essential Questions


Is there one American Experience?

Economic Systems 

To what extent does the American economy shape the American experience? 

Reform Movements 

How do people affect change in their society?


During the early twentieth century, America shifted from a primarily rural to an urban society.


Growth of cities 

 As the nation’s industrial growth continued, cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New York grew rapidly as manufacturing and transportation centers. Factories in the large cities provided jobs, but workers’ families often lived in harsh conditions, crowded into tenements and slums. 

 The rapid growth of cities caused housing shortages and the need for new public services, such as sewage and water systems and public transportation. Cities in the Northeast, such as Boston and New York, constructed subway systems around the turn of the twentieth century, and many cities built trolley or streetcar lines.

Industrialization: Reputation of capitalists as captains of industry or robber barons 

 Excesses of the Gilded Age 

 Income disparity 

 Lavish lifestyles 

 Ruthless business practices of capitalists in forming monopolies and trusts

Industrialization: Impact on working conditions for labor 

 Long hours and low wages, especially for women and children 

 No job security and no benefits such as workingmen’s compensation 

 Dangerous working conditions, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, and work-related illnesses such as lung disease 

 Company towns

Industrialization: Formation of labor unions 

 Goals: Higher wages, fewer work hours, safer conditions 

 Labor organizations 

 Knights of Labor led by Terence Powderly 

 American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers 

 American Railway Union led by Eugene V. Debs 

 International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union


 Haymarket Square Riot led to the demise of the Knights of Labor 

 Homestead Strike by Carnegie steel workers 

 Pullman Strike by railroad workers


 Limited work hours 

 Regulated working conditions


Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Clayton Anti-Trust Act


19th Amendment

Income disparity


Ida B. Wells

Booker T. Washington

W.E.B. DuBois

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

Samuel Gompers

Eugene V. Debs

Robber Barons



Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor

American Railway Union

International Ladies Garment Workers Union


Company town

Court Cases

Plessy v. Ferguson

Updated: May 18, 2018