Essay on Useless: Andrew Carnegie and United States

Submitted By Buffstate2294
Words: 1814
Pages: 8

HIS 344
Scott M. Black
The rise of industrialization during the early 1900s brought many changes to American economy and society. Urbanization primarily due to immigration, new technologies, and the rise of big business through industrial trusts, with the rise of laissez-faire capitalism are among the most significant of these changes. Industrialization had both a positive and negative effect on the economic state of the United States as well as American society as a whole. It allowed the United States to surpass many of its leading competitors including Germany and Great Britain but it also led to sharper Economic and class divisions among the rich, middle class, and the poor. Immigrants came to the United States during the industrial era for the main purposes of finding jobs. This led to a shift from rural areas to the urbanization of cities. Slums were also built as housing for immigrant families. Cities provided a supply of labor for factories and a principle market for factory made goods. Millions of young Americans from rural areas decided to seek new economic opportunities in the cities therefore they left their farms for industrial and commercial jobs. Cities underwent changes in size and internal structure. These vast construction projects that were undergoing in each city led to the construction of larger buildings such as skyscrapers as each city developed within. What is perhaps one of the biggest achievements during the early stages of the industrialization era are Thomas Edison and the perfection of the incandescent bulb. “In 1876, Thomas Edison and his associates opened an ‘invention factory’ in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where they intended to turn out ‘a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.’” The constant productions of these inventions were great contributors throughout the Industrialization Era and developed into tools we became dependable on. “Inventions in areas such as electricity, internal combustion, and industrial chemistry sprang from a marriage between technology and business organization. Most of Edison’s one thousand inventions used electricity to transmit light, sound, and images. In 1878, he embarked on a search for an efficient means of indoor lighting. After tedious experiments, Edison perfected the incandescent bulb.” In addition to this the Edison Electric Light Company also devised a system of power generation and distribution to widely provide electricity. Incandescent lamps make light by using electricity to heat a thin strip of material called a filament until it gets hot enough to glow. (A People & A Nation, 459-460). During the industrialization of the United States only a few were blessed by technology and they were the few captains of industry such as, James B. Duke who Duke supplied 40% of the American cigarette market with his American Tobacco Company, John D. Rockefeller with his Standard Oil, and Jay Gould who controlled 10,000 miles of railway. About one-ninth of the length of rail in the United States at that time, and, by 1882, he had controlling interest in fifteen percent of the country's tracks. (Mary Beth Norton, A people and A Nation, 461) These captains of industry truly had the lives that many Americans desired at the time, they were in a very small handful of people who owned big companies and cursed their workers with long days and little pay. Andrew Carnegie, who was a Scottish immigrant who built an enormous steel company, started by building a plant near Pittsburgh which flourished and started the beginning of his extreme wealth and eventually became the richest man in the world at the time. He founded Carnegie Steel and made many generous donations to a number of worthy causes towards education and entertainment. He believed in the "Gospel of Wealth," which meant that wealthy people were morally obligated to give their money back to others in society. In 1902 he founded the