Industrialization after Civil War

Industrializationafter Civil War


Industrializationafter Civil War

Thecivil war in America emerged in the period between 1861 and 1865. Byits very nature, the American civil war left unsettled scores andopen wounds behind. Therefore, the America society that survivedafter the civil war of 1865 cannot be compared with modern Americansociety (Harris, 2002). Industrialization and urbanization,democracy, and the First World War events shaped people’sperspective on how they could understand the American society after1920. While there are myriad of events that revolutionized Americasince the termination of slavery, there are a small number that aremarkers of enormous change between 1865 and 1920, including massiveindustrialization, Reconstruction period, and World War I. Therefore, this paper discusses the significant events occurred afterthe Civil War and ways in which industrialization affected Americansin the period between 1865 and 1920.

Thefirst fundamental event that occurred in America that succeeded theAmerican Civil War was Reconstruction period, which existed between1865 and 1876. The Reconstruction period was characterized by greatupheaval, and the country tried to restructure itself and integratethe Southern states into the Union. Additionally, the emancipatedslaves from the South were no longer dependent on a system that hadearlier controlled almost all aspects of their lives. Therefore, theliberated slaves had to find ways of integrating with society, asociety that heavily discriminated them on the basis of skin color.Thus, race discrimination took the predominated since whitesconsidered blacks as lesser people in the society who should notenjoy privileges just like other people. However, there was littlesocial or political agreement during the period of Reconstruction,more so on granting of voting rights between ex-slaves, ex-slavesoldiers, and Confederates, as well as reconstruction of the Southafter devastation that was caused by the Civil War and emancipationof the slave laborers. After Andrew Johnson had succeeded AbrahamLincoln, the Reconstruction process became more complex especiallyfor blacks living in the Southern States. Furthermore, thelegislative acts such as the black codes came into existence whichmade it difficult for liberated slaves to commence a new life (Downs,2011).

Consequently,the 14th Amendment, which was conceptualized in the Reconstructiontime, was enacted and guaranteed the blacks for their civil rights tosome extent. This legislation reshaped American politics as blacksmore independent and racial discrimination lessen as blacks had beengranted some civil rights. After the reconstruction era, the Southhad no choice rather than cooperation with the North as it could notrecreate by itself. However, even after the reconstruction tensionstill exists between newly-integrated South and North. Furthermore,the process of reconstruction did not succeed in granting equalrights to the liberated slaves since the Blacks did not have votingrights despite being given some greater degree of freedom. However,it was the movement of civil rights that succeeded in ensuring thatthe blacks are granted voting rights, almost a hundred years later,the fruits of what the process of Reconstruction was attempting toattain (William, 2009).

Thesecond fundamental event that took place was an era of rapidindustrialization (1876-1914) that succeeded the Reconstruction era.Therefore, the process of rapid industrialization occurred in bigcities of United States. The railroads enhanced industrializationprocess, and major cities such as Chicago experienced increasedpopulation, as results. Many industries were established in urbanareas. Consequently, there was increased rural to urban migration asmany African Americans went to urban centers to find employment inmany processing plants and factories. The industrialization periodwas characterized by economic prosperity, although a huge gap existedbetween working poor and the rich. Furthermore, many Americans becameurbanized as most of them left their farms and homesteads to settlein big cities. However, due to constant rural-to-urban migration,there was congestion in the major cities, and there were increasednumber of unemployed people since the processing plants and factoriescould not absorb such influx. The increased rate of unemployment inmajor cities was mainly caused by the economic recession that emergedin 1897 (Harris, 2002).

Althoughthe industrialization period was uninterrupted by immense internalstruggles, the Word War I was another event that would change the wayAmericans thought about themselves. The world war I is regarded as abreaking point since it did not only changed what Americans thoughtthey were, but also how they perceived themselves globally. Althoughthere was no battleground for World War I in American land, itseffects were substantially felt across American Atlantic Ocean. As aresult, the government of United States adopted and implemented newdiplomatic policies. Therefore, after America interrupted the FirstWorld War in 1916, there was an industrial production boom in America(Harris, 2002).

Inconclusion, there were several significant events that took placeafter the end of American Civil War in 1865. These events include butnot restricted to Reconstruction era, Industrialization period,economic recession and First World War. The period of reconstructionfacilitated the granting of civil rights to blacks to some extentthrough the 14th Amendment. Therefore, the period ofindustrialization enabled establishment of many processing plants andfactories in major cities. There was a myriad of effects emanatingfrom the process of rapid industrialization such as populationgrowth, restricted to rural-to-urban migration, congestion, andincreased rated of unemployment. However, the First World War changedthe way Americans perceived themselves in the world.


Downs,G. P. (2011). Declarationsof dependence: The long reconstruction of popular politics in theSouth, 1861-1908.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

WilliamE. Nelson. (2009). TheFourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine.Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Harris,S. E. (2002). Americaneconomic history.Washington, D.C: Beard Books.