- April 13, 2020
Transformations that propelled the United States since 1865
Transformationsthat propelled the United States since 1865
TheUnited States economy has grown since 1865. Rebound for economicdevelopment after a period of economic recession due to the civil warimmensely influenced this outstanding manifestation. The countryresourcefully utilized available opportunities to its economicadvantage. The US economy exploited the fields of industrialization,labor, ready market, transport, agriculture and natural resources.There was a gradual change in the United States after Americanmilitary forces overturned native Indian from power and removed themfrom rich mining and fertile agricultural land. Later, reformers andthe new American government formulated new policies that encouragedeconomic empowerment. The main factors that led to the growth of USeconomy are the availability of labor as a result of immigration,inventions, and the discovery of various minerals, as well as thevarious economic policies, formed.
Theend of the civil war was marked by an influx of immigrants, mainlyfrom the Eastern Europe. At a time when Industrial Revolution hadreached the U.S., the migrants played a significant role in buildingthe economy. The migrants came in search for jobs at times when theU.S. economy was transforming from Agriculture to manufacturing dueto the presence of raw materials such as cotton which was useful forcloth production, especially in the Northeast (U.S. Department ofState 1). The growth in the U.S population as a result of theimmigration meant that there was a ready market for the manufacturedgoods. The migrants also provided labor that was required in thevarious industries that were thriving (Norton, Sheriff, Blight andChudacoff 467). As reported by Norton, Sheriff, Blight andChudacoff, the labor force increased to a heightened level of 29million (467). Workers continuously moved in different communitiesas they worked for agricultural and mineral extraction complexes.This attracted large populations. Migrant economy developed as theyworked in various economic sectors. There was the development ofshops, newspapers, churches, banks and hotels that uplifted theeconomy in the US. The growing population also needed settlementsaround their areas of work (Norton, Sheriff, Blight and Chudacoff467).
Afterthe civil war, various minerals were discovered in different parts ofthe U.S. which would later boost the nation’s economy. Severalmining prospectors from Europe migrated to America to explore themining industry. They were materialistic in nature and searched forways of immersing wealth from the untapped land of America. Theymainly searched for mines of tin, lead, quartz, and zinc, gold,silver, and copper (Jones 466). Western mining soon became corporateand easily equaled to the Eastern manufacturing enterprise. As aresult, this industry grew, and boosted the economy of Americans(Norton, Sheriff, Blight and Chudacoff 466). An oil deposit wasdiscovered in Western Pennsylvania (Corbett et al. 517). Thediscovery of coal in the Appalachian Mountains further increased thevast minerals found in the country. Another essential mineral is ironwhich was discovered in the upper Midwest (Corbett et al. 518). Theseminerals acted as raw materials that helped in the growth ofindustries, such as the steel manufacturing sector that was mainlyboosted by the discovery of coal and iron. Other minerals such ascopper and silver, as well as lead and cement, opened up (The U.S.Department of State 1) which led to the growth of more industries andhence more revenue was realized.
Thediscovery of minerals resulted in inventions in different sectors.With the presence of steel obtained from iron and coal, railroadswere constructed and marked the basis for industrial revolution. In1886, inventors from America and Europe developed urban mass transit.This was to ease transportation of goods and services in the country.In the 1880s, there were inventions resulted in the use of horsedriven vehicles. There were also inventions of steam trains as thedevelopment of railroads increased. Later in 1883, a locomotiveresembling those used with horses even though their front platformused a motor to power vehicles, were invented. Later in 1890, a youngelectrician called Frank Sprague developed a similar system. However,the newly acquired vehicle used electricity that was supplied bywheels and transmitted by cables. It was called a "trolley."This invention was soon adopted the by several franchising companiesin most cities and towns in America. This initiated the US vehiclemanufacturing industry that still dominates the international market.In 1889, there were inventions of electric railways, which wasadvancement from the steam railways. Subways were then built, firstin Boston in 1989 and later in New York in 1900 (Chudacoff, Smith andBaldwin 85). Transformations in the transport industry positivelyinfluenced the efficiency in industrial production. Goods were alsoeasily transported to different market centers. Access to rawmaterials, minerals, and agricultural products were adverselyfacilitated. This boosted the economic growth of the US (Chudacoff,Smith and Baldwin 85).
Anothermilestone was the introduction of the assembly line in 1913 by HenryFord (U.S. Department of State 1). In this method, an employee woulddo one task at a time in a production line, first introduced in theautomobile industry. Other factories later adopted the method and itwas seen convenient as an increase in output and material acquisitionwas realized. This approach acted as a cornerstone for massproduction which boosted productivity and revenues.
Anotherperiod that shaped the U.S. economy was after the Second World Warbetween 1945 and 1960, or the post-war period. Consumer demand wentup, which resulted in stronger growth in the economy. More industriesemerged, such as the aviation and electronics (Norton, Sheriff,Blight and Chudacoff 84). The return of the military membersfacilitated the creation of affordable mortgage which stimulated aboom in the housing sector (U.S. Department of State 1). Due to theincreased need for more war supplies, a big military-industrialcomplex emerged (U.S. Department of State 1). During the cold warwith the Soviet Union as a result of the iron curtain, the U.S.government maintained its capacity as the major fighting super powerand invested heavily in more complex weapons (U.S. Department ofState 1). Since the war had ravaged the Europe, the U.S. had anadvantage of maintaining markets for their goods abroad. Thegovernment came into play in the economic affairs and established anemployment act in 1946 which was aimed at promoting employment,production and purchasing power (U.S. Department of State 1). Duringthis period, the government saw the need to establish internationalmonetary policies, which led to the formation of InternationalMonetary Fund and the World Bank to foster a capitalist economy(Jones 146). A rapid change in the American workforce was realized,and growth in the number of workers with different expertise wasseen. The movement of people to the urban areas led to a relativelyhigher population which later on, resulted in growth in demand forsingle-family homes. Many people started owning cars, who then soughtto live in the suburbs away from the cities. The migration to thesuburbs, which was accompanied by innovations such as airconditioning, led to the development of Sun Belt cities, includingAtlanta, Houston, and Phoenix (The U.S. Department of State 1). Roadswere constructed in a bid to open up these towns, leading to a changein business patterns. More shopping centers were created, and otherindustries followed, resulting in a further increase in the nation`sincome.
Inthe 1960s to 1970s, popularly referred to as the period of change,other nations around the world emerged. The period was characterizedby radical movements which attempted to overthrow governments. TheU.S. enjoyed strong economic relationships with its allies, resultingin further expansion. In the 1990s, with a new president, BillClinton, new economic themes were introduced with the aim ofimproving the economy. This is the period when the economy performedwell and progressed. More trade opportunities opened up as a resultof the fall of the Soviet Union (The U.S. Department of State 1). Theperiod was marked by development and advancements in technology whichbrought about complex electronic products. The growth intelecommunication brought forth extensive computer hardware andsoftware industry which revolutionized how other industries operate(The U.S Department of State 1). The Americans restored confidence tothe economy by the end of the 1990s. A continuous growth in theeconomy was realized from 1991 to 1999, which is regarded as thelongest peacetime economic growth in the history of the U.S. (TheU.S. Department of State 1). Despite challenges being faced, a growthin the economy is still experienced in the 21stcentury, although at a slower pace.
Thegrowth of the U.S. as the world`s economic superpower is mainlyattributed to the policies the country has put in place. With enoughresources and finance, the country has been able to fund variousprograms in the military and other sectors. The United States in notonly concerned about its economy but other nations` as well. Itspower is felt all over the world, both in military and economy. TheAmerican military troops have been sent in various missions in theMiddle East and other parts around the globe to combat terror. TheU.S. victory in the world wars made it even stronger, and the nationstrives to build its military to further strengthen it.
Theeconomy of the U.S. continues to grow, though at a slower pace. Itsdominance is felt across the globe in many matters such as politicsand economy. Every government in power strives to ensure that the‘American Dream` is realized. The factors that will build a healthyeconomy are innovations in various sectors, mainly technology.Politics and government policies have plaid a major role in thegrowth of the U.S economy. As illustrated in the discussion, theinterventions of the government in the formulation of economicpolicies are crucial.
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JonesPeter. An economic History of the United States since 1783.Routledge: Barnes & Nobel, Inc, 2013
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