Last Updated 19 Apr 2023

Technological Advancement of the 19th Century

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The end of the nineteenth century brought about a huge change in the way the United States worked as a nation, making the United States the world’s most productive nation. The nation as a whole was advancing rapidly and new inventions were bringing about new ways of life. Due to the invention railroads and efficient machinery, there was a rise in big businesses which were looking to expand as much as possible. Initially, nearing the end of the nineteenth century, railroads covered majority of the United States.

Railroads calmed the tension of transporting goods and materials, helping further the production of goods. The invention of railroads was the seed that helped big businesses grow. The making of railroads efficiently helped move large, bulk items that contributed to further drop the cost of transporting goods to the national market. During this time, Cornelius Vanderbilt, a railroad magnate gained great power and fortunes from uniting smaller rail lines into national corporations.

The invention of railroads itself sparked the railroad industry and helped to lower transportation prices in an already suppressed economy. Likewise, the invention of railroads not only promoted goods but it also promoted the steel industry. With railroads being constructed hastily, the steel industry and hit a big boom and almost became a major industry. The steel business was managed by a man named Andrew Carnegie and this big boom in the industry made the steel business flourish which made Carnegie rich.

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Times changing with the invention of the railroad and people looking for work gave businesses the advantage to expand and rise. Carnegie bought up all the iron mines and took on coal as a partner for his industry to lead in the steel industry. He produced steel cheaply and lowered his prices, which allowed him buy out any other steel company which made his company expand and be dominant in the steel industry, thus monopolizing the industry in a process known as vertical integration.

Furthermore, with the combination of proficient machinery and continental railroads, they both helped to form not only fast transportation and better consumer products but it also helped to build a nation. The United States was becoming an urban nation by the end of the 19th century. Railroads supplied cities and towns with food, fuel, building materials, and access to markets. Railroads even helped shape the physical growth of cities and towns. Railroads also attracted many tourists to the United States and helped provide many cities with imported goods.

In summation, in response to the Industrial Age, the United States changed and adapted in numerous ways. Machinery and industrialization helped stimulate the United States economy, furthered urban expansion and helped the United States grow into the business world it is today. The United States was and still is advancing and leading the world as the most productive nation, making the Industrial Age one of the biggest impacts in American history. As a last thought, who would have thought that a nation could be built from just a simple railroad built from steel?

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