The Civil War had tremendous effects on various aspects in the American society. For instance, there was rapid industrial development which led to several changes in the way people conducted themselves. In other words, industrialisation shaped political and economic aspects in the country, as the country’s leadership was forced to allow some openness in the way public affairs were conducted. For instance, analysts called on the country’s leadership to embrace cooperation regionally and internationally. With industrialisation, factories arose, including the ones that specialised in producing steel. This forced the political class to put in place measures that would ensure easier movement of goods and services in order develop the infrastructure, particularly rail and road networks.
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Just as other places across the world that encountered rapid development of industries, towns in the US were forcing the rural population to migrate to the urban centres in search of ‘ greener pastures’. The youthful generation had to move to urban areas that were believed to provide more employment opportunities as well as better quality of life. With these issues, the government was faced with a new challenge of maintaining law and order because of the social crimes cropping up, such as prostitution, mugging, smuggling, kidnapping, and carjacking. In other words, the state had to enact tougher laws to deal with the increasing cases of lawlessness.
It is observed that several aspects of industrialisation influenced the American society, especially in terms of political and economic organisation. First, the country is endowed with natural features, such as harbours, which facilitated the development of industries since goods were easily moved from one region to the other without inconveniences. Again, the climate has always been supportive of cash crops, something that earned the country high returns. Unlike other countries that focused so much on food crops, the US shifted its agricultural production to cash cropping during colonisation. It is noted further that entrepreneurial skills played a role in the establishing of various industries and factories in the country leading to rapid development of the economy. According to Hillstrom (2005), the new investors helped in industrialising the nation, as they opened up various economic opportunities. Even before the Civil War, the populace demanded for equal representation in government, and this served as a great purpose for industrialising the nation since the minorities were equally represented (Smythe, 2003).
Due to industrialisation, groups were affected differently, but women benefited more because they were fully incorporated into the financial system as equal partners, but not as ‘ underdogs’. Before then, the state constitutions had never allowed women to vie for elective posts or elect their preferred leaders. In fact, women representation in government was minimal, as only men were nominated to higher offices. In the labour market, the law was altered that forced each employer, including government, to ensure gender balance was taken into consideration when recruiting new employees. Due to this fact, many women were able to take part in political and economic activities meaning that they were empowered. Just after the war, many factories were set up and faced labour market shortage, that was something that attracted children to work and resulted in poor educational standards in the country.
In fact, children from African-American families had no option but to search for a pad job to cater for the rising costs of living. The blacks faced several challenges in the south because settlers were reluctant to offer them jobs, which forced them to seek for alternatives in the north. Unfortunately, life was extremely challenging in the north since blacks were racially discriminated and the conditions in which they lived were poor. The state had to develop a program that would ensure that people would migrate to the country, especially those with specialised skills to run machines in factories, to fill in labour market gap. Surprisingly, the government failed to put in place measures to protect the interests of the migrants, as many were overworked and poorly paid. Industrialisation improved the fortunes of the rich, including the aristocrats because they paid workers poorly and ensured the trade unions served their interests.
Industrialisation affected the lives of an ordinary American in many ways. Since the constitution allowed all the members of society to take part in economic and political activities, there were increased opportunities for the hardworking ones because factories were being set up in almost all states in the north. The production mode in the country changed due to the emergence of the third class, which became the middle class. Initially, the society was stratified based on race only with two classes, the upper and the lower. It was difficult for a member of the lower class to ascend to new heights because there were no mechanisms to ensure the poor achieved their desired interests in life.
Continued subjugation and oppression of workers, especially in their places of work, prompted workers to form unions to fight for their rights. The working conditions were poor, employers were hostile, and there was no specification for working hours. Even though industrialisation after the Civil War offered consumers cheaper products and services, workers in some industries were suffering. As Wells (2011) noted, the call for reforms at the work place facilitated the development of civil reforms as well leading to various changes in politics.
Hillstrom, K. (2005). The industrial revolution in America. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.
Smythe, T. C. (2003). The Gilded Age press, 1865-1900. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
Wells, J. (2011). A House Divided The Civil War and Nineteenth Century America. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.