1a) - An aspect of American life that improved between the period 1870 and 1910 is health. This fact can be gleaned from Document 1, which indicated that infant mortality rate in the year 1870 was 170 per 1000 children below the age of 1. This figure went down to 161 in 1880 and continued to go down for the next 30 years and by 1910 the figure was 117. The implication of this was that the Industrial Revolution brought something that made the people healthier, perhaps better finances to afford more food and medicine, or new drugs that were more effective.
1b) - An aspect of American life that deteriorated during the period between 1870 and 1910 is child labor. As indicated by the table in Document 1, in 1870 only 0.7 million children below the age of 15 were employed, but in 1880 this figure went up as 1.1 million children were recorded to have been working. This trend continued to grow in the next 30 years and in 1910, 1.63 million children were recorded to have been working.
2) – Edison’s most important invention is the electric light bulb, which significantly impacted American life. Although the light bulb was already around when he invented his own brand in 1879, it was him who made the light bulb more efficient and usable commercially. Edison’s light bulb burned longer for hours because he was able to find the right filament that could achieve this effect and he invented the right technology to prevent the bulb from blackening.
3) – By using the word ‘wedge,’ Henry George was referring to the growing gap between the rich and the poor generated by industrialization. Thus, while industrialization made the rich richer, it has also made the poor poorer. This difference was even starker with the increasing standard of life and new technologies that made life easier, which the rich can have at the tips of their fingers, but which the poor can only dream about.
4a) Carnegie believed that concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the few is a necessary evil to secure the future of the human race. He believed that this situation stemmed from the workings of the law of competition where the fittest get to hold the money and the power.
4b) – The problem of poverty, according to Carnegie, by allowing the laws of competition and accumulation to do their job – let the best and the fittest win. However, this can be used to solve poverty. Those who emerged victors as a result of competition must served as trustees of the people – the rich for the poor – by administering the wealth they accumulated in the most efficient and effective way that they can.
5) – Danger at every turn and low pay are the two conditions that coal miners had to endure in the 1890s. The danger that the miner was exposed to was of two kinds: accidental death due to the hundreds of perils in the mining environment, and slow death stemming from miner’s asthma caused by the condition of working below the ground.
6) – Industrialization drove people from the rural areas to urban centers and spurred immigration into the country. As a result, there was overcrowding and population explosion in urban areas that drove the cost of living. Many children worked to help their families earn a living in factories, such as the cotton mill pictured in Document 6.
7) – The ad is too cluttered to really be appealing. There is so much to read, which diminishes its impact, although there are actually only about three salient points that needed to be projected to the readers: it is cheap, it is easy to use, and free trial for 6 months. These three features were all intended to appeal to customers, particularly women. The ad was selling the idea that women could spend their time on other household chores because doing laundry has become so easy that it could be delegated to other members of the household.
The Industrial Revolution that began in the 1800s significantly impacted American life in so many ways and in so many levels. Characterized chiefly by the transition from rural to urban setting, cities and other urban centers became the site of immigration not only by people from rural areas, but also by people coming from all over the globe. Machineries ran factories and industries making production of goods easier and more efficient. Although the country became wealthier during this period as evidenced from its increasing GNP, it was also plagued by problems that accompanied and stemmed from industrialization. The Industrial Revolution had, thus, brought advantages that generally raised the standard of living in the United States and disadvantages that saw the emergence of social ills that complicated American life.
The most obvious advantage that the Industrial Revolution brought to America was that it brought more wealth to the country. The country’s GNP was on an upward trajectory beginning 1870 almost tripling after 40 years. The country’s growing wealth was also reflected in other areas of life as well. For example, there was an increase in telephone usage during this period as indicated in the Statistics on Industrial Growth covering the period from 1870 to 1910. The rate of high school graduates shot up as well indicating that there was more money to send children to higher education and/or an advanced education gave individuals better prospects in life. Even Henry George, while criticizing the imbalance of wealth that was spawned by the Revolution admitted that there was an increased level of ‘comfort, leisure and refinement.’ The raised standard of living while spawned by machineries was also sustained by more inventions of efficient machines, such as washing machines, which made life easier for the people. The Revolution had also impacted on the health of the general population. As can be seen from the Statistics on Industrial Growth covering the period from 1870 to 1910, less children age 1 and below died during this period indicating two possible things: medical science had by then progressed, which had made saving more infants at risk less difficult, and/or there was more money to buy food and medicine for babies that made them less susceptible to diseases. Moreover, pregnant women themselves may have been in comparatively better state of health because of more money to buy healthy food during pregnancy that impacted on the health of the unborn children. The invention of Thomas Edison of a more efficient light bulb in 1879 brought electricity and light to homes.
Despite the advantages that the accumulation of more wealth had brought to the country and to the people in the wake of the industrial revolution, it also brought social ills and problems that plagued the country. One of the most glaring results of industrialization in the US was that it brought about population explosion in cities overcrowding these urban centers and making life and conditions terrible for many. Although there was work in factories available to many, this had triggered immigration into cities and urban centers not only by people from rural areas and agricultural areas, but also people from other countries and continents. Whereas in 1870, the population between rural and urban areas was lopsided in favor of rural areas at 74% and 26%, respectively, by 1910 the population distribution was 54% for rural areas and 46% for urban areas. Overcrowding and other ills resulted. More children, especially from immigrant families had to work to help their families eke out a living in big cities. Many working conditions were terrible and there was an exploitation of the labor class as illustrated by the coal miners that Stephen Crane covered in 1894. Although danger lurked in every corner for a coal miner that could spell his death, his pay was so very low that it could not have covered costs for his coffin, whether he dies by accident or by slow death of miner’s asthma. It was, however, the growing gap between the rich and the poor that posed as the most negative results of industrialization. While industrialization made the rich even richer the poor became poorer that there was a growing gaping hole between them. According to Henry George, it was as if industrialization impacted society by striking it at the middle, rather from under resulting in the separation between those who are above the site of striking and those below it.