Industrialization and the Rise of Big Business: America's Transformation into an Economic Superpower

Essay by ewizx87xHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2006

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From the period of 1870 to 1900, the United States became one of the world's

strongest and growing industrial nations. An industrial revolution that had begun with the

manufacture of cotton and woolen textiles had, by the beginning of the 20th, transformed

the production of most everyday goods. Ranging from food, clothing, appliances, and

automobiles, the enormous output of industrial production led to the rise of big business

as it coordinated methods of distribution and sales to forge an infrastructure for consumer

culture. The rise of corporations, such as Carnegie Steel, J.P. Morgan, and Standard Oil,

in the late 1800's, was able to dramatically shape the country politically, socially, and

economically and even continues to do so today through new modern finance and


Industrial growth was mainly fueled by a surplus in resources, immigration and

therefore cheap labor, and major technological advances that expanded the capabilities of

various industries.

As technological advances transformed production and distribution, a

wave of inventions, including the typewriter, light bulb, and automobile led into new

industries. Through this boom in business, leaders learned how to operate many different

financial activities throughout the nation. Ultimately, they were able to become larger and

the modern corporation was "born" into one of the most important roles in the future of


These corporations seemed "new" for many people in the country, but corporations

actually date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, where they were used by royalty and

governments to organize exploration and possible colonization. Many businessmen and

politicians had been suspicious of the corporation from the time it first emerged in the

late 16th century. Unlike the partnership form of business, which dealt with a small

amount of people on a personal level, the corporation separated ownership from

management. In Adam Smith's The Wealth of...