U.S history is full of various victories, changes, and many developments that were just possible through persistent struggle. This is evident through knowing the period of 1865-1900 that gave the US society with a huge growth in terms of economy, politics, and societal changes, giving it an ultimate power related to industries and more specifically agriculture. During this period, industrialization began to increase at higher level and the history covered the most important changes named as Reconstruction, Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era, reflecting the positive impacts of Civil war that boomed US north but same time declined other confederate states. The government emphasized on the establishment of industries and powered up the efficiency and productivity of labor to show rapid industrial development through various policies, steps, Movements, Acts, and Legislations. Changes such as Rail Road Development, Industrialization, and Urbanization built up the US Society on stable foundations and attracted other societies to seek adequate opportunities and enjoy industrial progress with open chances of immigration.
Rail Road Development
In the year 1869, the first transcontinental road was revealed that led to the easy access of mining and ranching regions in US. The travel from one region to another became too shorter that resulted in vast opportunities for migrants to go beyond and find relatives (lost in civil war) or exploit the improved and enhanced conditions and economic life out there. The opportunity to look beyond the American frontier established the farmers who were able to search better and fertile land for their agricultural work according to their desires. The expanded markets and opportunity to attract new and more customers also boosted the businesses of merchants and tradesmen who were deprived of such opportunities before. Moreover, the laborers also got huge and high wages and better conditions that opened up by the introduction of transcontinental road that allowed to move from one place to another quite easily. The same change also brought some issues as when conflicts emerge from the regional Indian tribes. When miners, settlers and merchants started moving to the plains and mountains the Indian tribes argued in response of which US government also warned them to remain in their areas. However, the huge violence took place and 1880 to 1890 it continued. The reformers played a vital and major positive role towards integrating the Indians and Americans for the benefit of whole nation and society and as a result, Carlisle Indian Industrial School was established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the major purpose of giving Indians the proper training and education to help merge in the American society. The Dawes Act of 1887 was also introduced as an effort to accomplish such purpose. Integration helped to bring many positive impacts but those who refused integration kept living in poverty. Furthermore, railroad age expanded farming to great extent when federal government under the Homestead Act 1862 also announced the free 160 acres land to the settlers when it was encouraged to establish new markets and purchase land at very low rates. As a result, number of farmers from Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia explored the US and its agricultural reforms and opportunities. This period was undoubtedly full of hardships but US remarkably progressed and prospered through its agricultural advancements and gave the farmers and settlers successful years more specifically from 1876 until 1881. Following the successful years, the conditions started to go against US but in favor of Europe. However, the agricultural problems took better control when Grange Movement initiated which proved great success politically. Agricultural reforms also included and encouraged women and children who played vital role to operate farms and enjoy good social life, developing generations who were hardworking, accountable, flexible, and self-determining.
From1865 to 1900, the industrialization of US society emerged largely. The agricultural sector, which was the backbone of US South, also expanded in other regions of US that eventually led to agricultural reform. With agricultural reform, the productive capacity of the land increased that advanced the opportunities for labors as well. The conventional methods of cultivation that were unknown to farmers later became a part of farmers’ progress. The vast opening opportunities arising from Rail Road’s attracted credit, capital and the farmers who contributed to make US leading and emerging industrialized nation of the world. The major change due to industrial revolution also included modern methods of extracting natural resources quite cheaply that provided a stable base and helped to uplift the US industry. During the era of 1865-1900 Second Industrialization Revolution took place in which huge importance was given to the availability, distribution, proper utilization and exploitation of natural resources. Moreover, various organizations and industries captured the markets and thus enhanced coordination inside and beyond US due to advanced transportation and high tech facilities. In addition to that, US climate also provided best working conditions for the society to exploit natural resources and grow the economy. The advanced tools for communication, high tech processes for manufacturing steel and iron, encouragement towards innovation contributed to the ultimate success of industries. The immigrants that entered US industries also took great advantages by higher wages and huge prospects to enhance their skills. The American federation of Labor was formed that helped to fulfill the rights of all labor but same time there were various conflicts, riots, strikes that arose nationally but settled as the time passed.
Urbanization - social change
When factories, Rail Roads, businesses grew the same time number of cities expanded too. Moving from rural dwelling to urban areas due to immigration, US society felt vast change of rapid growth when millions of people from other countries, various ethnic groups, and different locations entered US to make their future. Immigrants eradicated their poverty, minimized the religious threats, and moved to America to find suitable jobs and opportunities of farming. The change in urbanization, which was followed by industrialization, included the period when African Americans lost their rights and experienced racial discrimination. In the southern states of America, various riots and major violence took place that further made the living conditions of African American worse. Following all this, major changes were upheld and Compromise of 1877 and Jim Crow Laws were established that promised to control the situation though the results showed increasing migration from US. It was in 1896 when racial segregation finished and Jim Crow laws were effectively practiced throughout US to give the equal rights to the immigrants from separate nations. The formation of Farmers Alliance in 1880, the Ocala Demands, the establishment of populist party in 1890, panic of 1893, break up of Democratic party were also the major highlights between 1865 to 1990 that overall affected the change in urbanization negatively as well.
The major change in US society was in terms of reconstruction that started at the year of 1863 when federal government for the time being started to control southern states. After the civil war US was passing a reconstruction phase that helped it to grow, prosper, and become the strongest and most powerful nation of the world. During the period 1865-1900, legalized slavery ended and the system of Jim Crow expanded. According to the plans of Abraham Lincoln the former confederates were integrating and slaves were empowered to take better options of acquiring education, health, and employment services. This change in reconstruction also gave them the right to cast vote and have their say for the first time too. That was the era when political, social, and economical reforms and fundamental transformation took place in US Society.
- Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. A Patriot’s History of the United States: FROM COLUMBUS’S GREAT DISCOVERY TO THE WAR ON TERROR. (Hudson Street, New York. Penguin Group, 2004)
- Paul Boyer, Clifford Clark, Karen Halttunen, Joseph Kett, and Neal Salisbury. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. (Cengage Learning, 2013)
- James. W. Davidson, Brian DeLay, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Mark Lytle, Michael Stoff. Interpreting America's Past Volume 2: Since 1865, (Texas Edition. Mcgraw- Hill, 2012)
- Conlin, Joseph. The American Past: A Survey of American History, Volume II: Since 1865. Vol. 2. (Cengage Learning, 2013.)