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Second Industrial Revolution Essay

1543 words - 7 pages

The Second Industrial Revolution

The time period between the 1800s-the 1920s have now come to be known as the Second Industrial Revolution. By the time of the Civil War, the technologies upon which the First Industrial Revolution was based were established in the United States. In the years following the war, the nation's industrial energies were focused on completing the railroad and telegraph networks of the North, rebuilding those of the South, and expanding those of the West. The main difference between the First and Second Industrial Revolution focused on science based developments involving a new process of manufacturing iron and steel as well the creation of the light bulb and the telephone. While some of the inventions created during this time period have become outdated by now a lot of them are still improved upon and are still utilized to this day.
A lot of the new inventions that were created were meant to ease the production of goods that were already being worked on. The demand for products gave way to the creation of factories built by retailers who were struggling to meet the requirements of the masses surrounding them. The formation of power driven machinery was initiated in order to compete with others. These machines were used to replace skilled craftspeople. Since this involved less people, labor costs were reduced, as well as the prices for the goods that were produced. Depending on the country’s needs, the machinery produced products by the thousands or even millions.
One of the biggest inventions during this time period was the creation of the railroad. While they had been utilized during the Civil War they were owned by private owners and there weren’t any large network of rails connected and as such their travel distance was limited. Eventually, rich men began buying up railroads and connecting them together which eventually gave way to Central and Pacific Union Railroad, the two companies responsible for westward expansion. The railroad had its benefits, though, as they created jobs and made traveling easier facilitating westward migration. This however caused problems when monopolies were established and prices were raised making it difficult for farmers to ship their products. The expansion of the railroad also forced small factories to shut down because larger factories now had means to transport their goods farther.
There were three men who rose to power in the oil, steel and banking industry during this time period; John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. Piermont Morgan. John Rockefeller created an oil monopoly through his company; The Standard Oil Company of Ohio and leading him to record profits. Oil would eventually become more widely used when the automobile was invented in 1914 and oil was converted to gasoline to use as fuel. Andrew Carnegie became rich when he instituted the Bessemer process, a method of mass producing steel which he then used to sell massive quantities in order to build railroads....

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