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Hist 2020 Week 2 Notes

by: Jonesy

Hist 2020 Week 2 Notes Hist 2020

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These notes cover Industrialization, the robber barons, and the changes in lifestyle of the average citizen worker.
Survey of United States History II
J. Nelson
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jonesy on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Hist 2020 at Middle Tennessee State University taught by J. Nelson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Survey of United States History II in History at Middle Tennessee State University.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Industrialization  What exactly is industrialization? o Industrialization mainly refers to a production model in which goods are produced in mass quantities, usually very efficiently and rather cheaply. These goods are made in factories (these factories usually only made one type of good)  As technology progressed, machines replaced human workers in these factories, improving upon the factory’s efficiency in making the good  The human workers that were employed often had to work with/on the machines o The industrialization craze led to a spur in inventors and inventions; these inventors were inspired by the linking of technology and science, as well as the chance to make a profit o Industrialization also resulted in many communications and transportation achievements, such as railroads and the telephone  During industrialization, America went from being a mainly agricultural nation to what is called a “modern nation,” which means that it turned into a manufacturing nation o Modern brand names begin to appear at this time, such as Kellog’s, Piggly Wiggly (which was the first self-help grocery store), and A&P Grocery Store (which was the first chain store)  One product that helped spur industrialization is the Bessemer Converter o This machine, invented by Henry Bessemer, converted iron into steel, a much lighter and sturdier metal. o The use of this machine in steel production (which came to be called the Bessemer process) allowed for quick production of steel and was exploited by people like Andrew Carnegie  Robber Barons was what the group of industrialist giants were called; they were an elite social and economic group that viewed themselves as aristocrats, or as the American equivalent of the British royal class o Andrew Carnegie was one such robber baron  At age 13, immigrated to the US  Obtained an entry-level job as a messenger in a telegraph office, and successfully worked his way upwards  After taking the railroad industry by storm, he founds US Steel in 1900.  His business tactics are cutthroat:  He cut costs & prices by signing deals with railroad companies that needed steel  He cut his workers’ wages  Would buy rival companies that could no longer compete o This is an example of Horizontal Combination, in which a successful company buys out other competing companies to form a business conglomerate o Another popular business tactic at the time was Vertical Integration, in which a corporation bought up all the different levels of production o John D. Rockefeller was to oil what Carnegie was to steel  He discovers how to refine oil, which is useful for energy purposes and can also be used alongside other products  Founds Standard Oil Co.  Like Carnegie, he is also a ruthless businessman in an attempt to maximize his own profit o Thomas Edison is more of an inventor than a businessman, though he did make some noteworthy profit off of his inventions  He invented a better filament for the light bulb, which allowed it to stay lit for much longer than previously possible  This changed the worker’s life tremendously. With light available during all hours, the workday lengthened, and some workers even took all-night shifts. Many factories now functioned 24/7  After success of his light bulb filament, Edison built Menlo Park in NJ in 1876, which became his base of operations for inventing  He is also one of the founders of GE (General Electric), which was one of the first monopolies o Cornelius Vanderbilt is another important and noteworthy robber baron  These robber barons all had a philosophy of philanthropy; they believed in giving back to the community somehow o Andrew Carnegie founded more than 3000 libraries in 47 states  He even offered $100,000 to the city of Nashville for its library o Cornelius Vanderbilt founded Vanderbilt University in Nashville  All these economic changes also presented changes to the lives of everyday citizens and workers o Where people had once lived and worked by day, now they lived and worked by the clock since light bulbs eliminated any need to stop working after sunset o Many people that were used to being self-employed now had supervisors o Working conditions were very harsh  6-day work weeks  10 hour days  Tasks were repetitive o All the above tasks put stress on other aspects of life  Men would start drinking in their spare time  Women would quit domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning in an effort to earn money outside the home  Physical stress also exhausted workers o Child labor was essential to the factory’s operation  1900, some 1.7 million kids were part of the work force o Women were also very prevalent in the work force, but had unequal treatment  Only earned ½ of what men earned  Most of the women were young and single  Usually lived in a boarding house with other women  As a response to these less-than-desirable working conditions, the Knights of Labor was formed as the first labor organization o Founded in 1869, its purpose was to advocate for workers and remedy bad working conditions o The AFL (American Federation of Labor) formed soon after  1890’s, Phil and Reading Railroad Co. catalyzed a severe national depression


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