Second Industrial Revolution

  • Land in warms doubled from 1870 to 1920

  • Wheat production doubled

  • Employment in manufacturing quadrupled

  • Percentage of workforce in agriculture halved

  • GNP per capita nearly tripled

  • 1880: first census to find a majority of the workforce engaged in non-farming jobs

  • A factory working class emerged

  • Traditional value of economical independence became obsolete because 2/3 of the population worked for wages

  • Second industrial revolution: factories producing iron, steel and machinery

  • Railroad length tripled from 1860 to 1880 and tripled again by 1920

  • Railroad companies divided the nation into four timezones

  • Atlantic cable 1866: telegraph between US and Europe

  • Spread of electricity

  • Firms developed pools and trusts, which were short-lived

  • Andrew Carnegie’s company that used vertical integration (controlled from raw material to manufacture, transportation and distribution)
    • Donated his money to philanthropies

  • Rockefeller
    • Horizontal expansion: buying out competitors

    • Soon used vertical integration as well

    • By 1880 standard oil controlled over 90% of the nation’s oil industry

    • Viewed as either captain of the industry or robber barons

  • Some skilled workers had high wage and considerable amount of controls over the production process

  • Skilled worker knew more production details than their employers

  • Most of worker remained poor and insecure

  • US industry had the highest rate of accidents

  • By 1890, the richest 1% owned more properties than the bottom 99% combined

  • Conspicuous consumption: spending money to demonstrate the possession of wealth


  • Causes of the industrial revolution
    • Production became more machine driven

    • More goods are produced and made available

    • Population growth (both naturally and from immigrations)

    • Companies began to merge

    • A new working class

    • Better transportation and communication

    • Technologies allow much better efficiency

    • Gov investments in railroads

    • More cities

  • Benefits of industrial revolution
    • Increased job opportunities

    • Ice box -> better diet

    • Sewing machine

    • Steam engine

    • Mail order catalog

  • Costs
    • Devalued workers

    • Piecewise paid work

    • Pollution