Industrialization: Laissez-faire and Transcontinental Railroad Essay

Submitted By imjoshn
Words: 935
Pages: 4

1. How did the transcontinental railroad network provide the basis for the great post-Civil War industrial transformation?

The transcontinental railroad network provided as the basis for the great post-Civil War industrial transformation in two major ways. First, the transcontinental railroad helped stimulate the steel industry. Railroads required a heavy demand of steel to build it and also for the carts that were going to travel along it. This ultimately caused the steel industry to rise. Secondly, the transcontinental railroad essentially created a huge market that allowed industries to expand across the nation. This allowed factories to be able to get materials from around the US and sell their products in the US. The transcontinental railroad allowed the US to become an industrial power.

2. What were the abuses in the railroad industry and how did these lead to the first efforts at industrial regulation by the federal government?

The railroad industry were not without corruption. There were a couple of astonishing abuses with the railroads including a cheap method of moneymaking called “stock watering.” This is the process of over-inflating the worth of their stock and sold them at huge profits. Also rail owners were exceptionally abusive to the public. They bribed judges and legislatures, elected their own to political office, gave rebates, and used free passes to gain favor in the press. Eventually, railroad owners joined into defensive alliances to show profits, and created the first trust or called a “pool.” A pool or cartel is a group of competitors who agree to work together, so they can set prices.

3. How did the economy come to be dominated by giant “trusts,” such as those headed by Carnegie and Rockefeller in the steel and oil industries?

The economy eventually came to be dominated by giant “trusts” because of the of laissez faire capitalism. The government would not involve itself in business. This resulted in various numbers of gambles on business and shady business practices. Carnegie didn’t know much of the steel business, but did accumulate enough cash to purchase a steel company. When his competitor’s business was bad, he would buy them out one by one. Rockefeller completely ran competitors out of business. Rockefeller spied on his competitors to see what they were selling their product at. Eventually, Rockefeller controlled 90% of the oil business because he sold oil below the cost his competitors could not afford to do. Once all the competition was out of the picture, they created a trust which operated the entire industry.

4. Describe the growing class conflict caused by industrial growth and combustion, and the early efforts to alleviate it.

Industrial growth and combustion caused the growing class into a conflict because it resulted in poor working conditions and a huge competition between the poorer classes. Immigrants were coming to America in great waves and were desperate for money for themselves and their families, so they were more than willing to take the lowest paying jobs and live in terrible conditions. Big business owners took advantage of this and paid their employees little to nothing and gave them ridiculously long hours. To alleviate it, there would be groups that could help like the church.

5. How did industrialist supporters attempt to explain and justify great wealth and increasing class division through “natural law” and the “Gospel of Wealth?”

Industrialist supporters attempted to explain and justify great wealth and increasing class division through natural law and the gospel of wealth with social darwinism. This was the theory that individuals, groups, and people are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection. They believed in “survival of the fittest” and that the rich were fit to live through the idea social darwinism.

6. Why was the South