Social Studies - 2019-20

USII.4d - Industrialization

The student will apply social science skills to understand how life changed after the Civil War by

d) explaining the impact of new inventions, the rise of big business, the growth of industry, and the changes to life on American farms in response to industrialization;

Adopted: 2015


The United States was transformed from an agrarian to an increasingly industrial and urbanized society.  Although this transformation created new economic opportunities, it also created societal problems that were addressed by a variety of reform efforts.

Is there one American experience?

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

How do people affect change?


Between the Civil War and World War I, the United States was transformed from primarily an agricultural society into one based on manufacturing and services.

Inventions had both positive and negative effects on society.


Inventions that contributed to great change and industrial growth

 Electric lighting and mechanical uses of electricity (Thomas Edison)

 Telephone service

 Railroads, which permitted large-scale, long-distance transport of goods

Rise of big business led by captains of industry

 Captains of industry (John D. Rockefeller, oil; Andrew Carnegie, steel; Cornelius Vanderbilt, shipping and railroads; J.P. Morgan, banking)

Reasons for business growth

 National markets created by transportation advances

 Advertising

 Lower-cost production (assembly line)

 Lack of competition (monopolies and trusts)

Factors that promoted industrial growth in America

 Access to raw materials and energy sources

 Large work force (due to immigration)

 New inventions

 Financial resources

Examples of big business

 Railroads

 Oil

 Steel

 Coal

Postwar changes in farm and city life

 Mechanization (e.g., the reaper) reduced farm labor needs and increased production.

 Industrial development in cities created increased labor needs.

 Industrialization provided new access to consumer goods (e.g., mail order).


Updated: Jul 12, 2019