It would be safe to say that 19th century industrialization shaped the face of modern day America in such a way that all groups of individuals were affected to an exceedingly large degree. To these groups, American life would never be the same as it was prior to the industrial period.
The Native Americans were significantly affected by the sudden change industrialization brought to them. With the rise in industry, migration to the West increased substantially. Thousands of citizens-some paid to go and some by their own accord-sought money, land, and a new life. Nonetheless the Native Americans were affected by all these migration incentives. With the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad forth came the modernization of the West and the downfall of the frontier. Eventually the Native American tribes were forced to relocate to a specified plot of land due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This in turn led to high resistance among the Indians and Americans.
The second group of individuals affected by industrialization was the middle and lower class group of workers. For the most part the middle class benefited from industrialization; teaching expanded, middle management was born, and professional employment increased. Nonetheless, the lower class and lower sector of the middle class were victims of industrialization. Along with the rise in specialized jobs came the invention and production of factory machines. One of the biggest inventions, the assembly line, took the jobs of thousands of factory workers across the country. It wasn’t long before Union labor groups, such as the Knights of Labor, rose up to defend workers against the factories. Employers tended to only view laborers as costs of production rather than distinct individuals. When the unions rose up to fight the factory system, it led to harsh and occasionally violent rebellions. Thus the conservative unionizers were thus demonized as a threat to the economy.
Alongside the middle and low class workers were the farmers. In the late 19th century, agriculture was becoming increasingly commercial and increasingly mechanized. Because of this, competition increased from all over the world thus leading to low income for farmers. In effect, farmers were forced to trade in an unbalanced market. They were strained to buy in a protected market-the U.S. economy-but had to sell in an unprotected foreign market. In response to this, many farmers joined the National Farmers Alliance-an alliance brought together to fight the emerging community. Nonetheless, the alliance only held off the industrial period for so long. Eventually it was overcome with laborsaving technology.
The “new” middle class was a result of American expansionism in the 19th century due to the Industrial Revolution. The increase in production and distribution through the rise of factories gave credence to the new class. Also, while the new middle class wasn’t as united as before the Industrial Revolution, it shared a common goal-expansionism. Prosperity and succession were among its most important interests. This laid way for a laissez-faire type of economy as well as the triumph of the industrialization.
Last but not least of those affected by industrialization were the immigrants. Industrialization gave the United States a sense of ethnocentrism-the idea that a nation is a better nation than another. Between 1900 and 1910, nine million foreigners immigrated to the U.S. The opening of the West also allowed foreigners to migrate to America. By 1910 the ‘Iron Range’ became home to 35 European immigrant groups. But due to this high increase in immigration, the United States began laying down immigration laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Anti-Semitism also increased due to the increase of European Jews. It must be stated that the reason immigration became so high can be credited to the Progressive Era. Foreigners saw a faith in progress and a hope for improvement in America. Most immigrants saw America as a place for freedom and chance. The Industrial Revolution laid way for that.It’s true that the Industrial Revolution made America what it is today. It affected almost every group of people living in the present times and caused hardships among communities, families, and individuals. But after it was over, the end seemed to have justified the means: America became a stronger, more progressive nation with a hope of progress to look forward to.