19th Century Industrialization
Nineteenth Century Industrialization
During the second half of the nineteenth century, the United States experienced an urban revolution unparalleled in world history up to that point in time. As factories, mines, and mills sprouted out across the map, cities grew up around them. The late nineteenth century, declared an economist in 1889, was "not only the age of cities, but the age of great cities." Between 1860 and 1910, the urban population grew from 6 million to 44 million. The United States was rapidly losing its rural roots. By 1920, more than half of the population lived in urban areas. The rise of big cities during the nineteenth century created a distinctive urban culture. People from different ethnic and religious backgrounds came into the cities and settled down in large apartment building and tenement houses. They came in search of jobs, wealth, and new opportunities. Urbanization brought a widening of the gap between the poor and the rich. Nineteenth century American industrialization relied upon poverty and immigration for its success. Industrialization grew due to an increase of workers and cheap labor.
The ideal of success in business and prosperity fueled the rise in immigration. Immigrants came in search of riches but they were soon to find out that wealth was 19th Century Industrialization 2.
not what they received. The industrial revolution brought huge numbers of new immigrants from every part of the world. By the end of the century, nearly 30 percent of the residents of major cities were foreign-born. Their arrival to America brought the laborers that the industries and factories needed. Their arrival also created unsightly racial and ethnic tensions. Most immigrants were lured to America by the promise of affluence even though they were doing just fine in their own countries. American industries, seeking cheap labor, kept recruiting agents on watch abroad and at American ports. "From 1820 to...
Cited: Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle, Bantam Books, New York, 1906.
Sumner, William. What the Social Classes Owe Each Other, www.xroads.virgina.edu,
Tindall, George. America: A Narrative History, W.W. Norton and Company New York, 1999.
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