....................................................................................................................Standard USII.2>

Explain the various causes of the Industrial Revolution

Focus Question: What factors contributed to Industrial Revolution in America after the Civil War?

Topics on the Page:
A. The economic impetus provided by the Civil War

B. Important technological and scientific advances
  • See Dramatic Event Page: The Transcontinenta
    Chicago World's Fair 1893
    Chicago World's Fair 1893
    l Railroad that includes

      • Primary Sources
      • Video Resources
      • Chinese Railroad Workers
      • Native Americans
      • Picture Books About the Transcontinental Railroad
  • Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution
  • Child Laborers
  • Inventions
    • Cotton Gin
    • Internal Combustion Engine
    • Electricity
    • Telegraph
    • Metallurgy
    • Telephone
    • Mineograph

C. The role of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and inventors

Map_of_USA_MA.svg.pngFor more on Industrial America, see AP United States History 15

rotating gif.gifSee also Economics 2.5 for background on wealth, income and power in American society

The Economic Impetus of the Civil War


Economic Factors

• The newly established transcontinental railroad allowed raw materials to be sent to manufacturers in a cost-efficient manner.
• Americans began migrating from rural to more urban areas, providing a workforce for factories.
• Lack of free labor in the South forced Americans to find a new labor base. This base was the “blue collar worker.”

For a perspective on one industry, see Coal Mining in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era from The Ohio State University

A Visual Timeline for Industrialization from 1865-1895

Technological and Scientific Advances

Women Factory Workers, 1909
Women Factory Workers, 1909

Female_Rose.png Women Workers & The Industrial Revolution

"The Industrial Revolution in part was fueled by the economic necessity of many women, single and married, to find waged work outside their home. Women mostly found jobs in domestic service, textile factories, and piece work shops. They also worked in the coal mines. For some, the Industrial Revolution provided independent wages, mobility and a better standard of living. For the majority, however, factory work in the early years of the 19th century resulted in a life of hardship." [10]

"The experiences of African American and immigrant women were different from America-born women of European descent. Gender definitions and the rise of industrialization shaped the labor experiences of all women, but African Americans and immigrants faced the added burdens of racial and ethnic perceptions. As women’s labor expanded and changed during the 19th century, women workers in various occupations united into workers’ organizations for labor reform." [11]
This diary entry offers a view into the life of the famous female workers of the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts.

lessonplan.jpgLesson plan with Primary Sources: Examining the experiences of women textile workers: http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/textile.html

Click here for an article about industrialization in the development of the Pioneer Valley(Springfield, MA)

Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution
Child Labor Cartoon, estimated to be from 1913
Child Labor Cartoon, estimated to be from 1913

Child labor workers were actually common in colonial America.
  • Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many children worked on farms or learned trades through apprenticeships.
  • These forms of child labor declined during the early 19th century, but children working in factories became more common.
  • Children could be paid lower wages, easy to manage, and could not form unions. Children as young as six years old were working in the factories.
  • There were labor laws that required children to attend school and be paid a minimum wage, but they were rarely enforced.
    • Click here for more information.

Working Conditions of Children
Days were frequently very long, about 12-14 hours (sometimes up to 19 hours) with a 1 hour break. They were paid very little, if at all. Many orphans worked without pay in exchange for clothes, shelter, and food, all of which were of low standards. The children were often hurt or killed by the machinery. It was also common for supervisors to beat them for not following directions or not meeting quotas.
Click here for more information.

Click here for a quick video on working conditions of children during the industrial revolution

multicultural.pngClick here for a BBC site on child labor in developing countries in present day.

African Americans in the Industrial Revolution

Industrialization also affected the African American population. Even though slavery had now been outlawed by law African American citizens were not free from discrimination during the Industrial Revolution.

More on the African American experience of Post-Civil War Industrialization: Industrialization and the Dominate-Minority Relations

Video African American History of Industrial Revolution giving perspective on the history we see in textbooks about the Industrial Revolution

Picture is a Child Spinner in Bibb Mill No. 1, Macon, Ga, 1909. She had to climb up on to the spinning frame to mend broken threads

external image 01623r.jpglessonplan.jpg
  • Click here for a lesson plan that revolves around the photographs of Terry Hines, who documented child labor during the Industrial Revolution

timeline2_rus.svg.pngClick here for a timeline of African American history impacted by industrialization


timeline2_rus.svg.pngInteractive Timeline of inventions

external image Picture%201.png
The Cotton Gin
Invented early in the Industrial Revolution (patented in 1807).

Eli Whitney revolutionized cotton production in the South.

For more on the cotton gin and slavery in the South, see United States History I.29

**See also page on Eli Whitney and the Development of the Cotton Gin**

The Internal Combustion Engine
  • The Internal Combustion Engine is invented, patented, and improved upon until it is finally used in machinery and early automobiles.

Biography icon for wiki.pngBrief biography of Nikolaus Otto: Inventor of the internal combustion engine
external image White_and_Middleton_Engine.jpg


  • Perfected by Samuel Morse, the telegraph allowed for messages to be transmitted over long distances.
  • The use of telegraphs relied on a special language of communication called "Morse code."
external image American_progress.JPG
In this 1870 John Gast painting titled American Progress, a woman representing the United States strings telegraph wire as she travels across the Western frontier. The areas in front of her are dark because they have not yet been brought the benefits of modern industry.

  • Metallurgy extracts metal from ores to purify and alloy metals

  • The Telephone is invented, in 1876, by Alexander Graham Bell. He also invented the metal detector and the phonograph.


Duplicator that makes copies of documents with stencils

Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell

Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

For background, see The Gilded Age from PBS American Experience and America's Gilded Age from the Henry Morrison Flager Museum.

The term "Gilded Age," was coined by one of the most prolific authors of the period: Mark Twain. To read the letters and writings of Mark Twain, click here.

external image Red_apple.jpgThe Industrial Age in America: Robber Barons and Captains of Industry from EDSITEment.

game_icon.svg.pngThe Wealthiest Americans Ever, lists short biographies of the 30 richest individuals in an infographic format, from the New York Times (July 15, 2007).

external image Andrew_Carnegie_-_Drawing.jpg
Andrew Carnegie

See PBS website, "The Richest Man in the World."

• Industrialist, Businessman, and Philanthropist.
• Founder of Carnegie Steel Company, which later became the US Steel Company.
• Presided over the Homestead Strike, in which workers went on strike after wage cuts
• Founded the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now Carnegie-Mellon University.

Andrew Carnegie became successful using a business technique called "horizontal integration.

A description of both it and Rockefeller's vertical integration can be found here.

primary_sources.PNGAndrew Carnegie on The Gospel of Wealth (June 1889)
Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.33.19 AM.pngCarnegie Speaks: A Recording of the Gospel of Wealth

external image NSRW_Thomas_Alva_Edison.png

Thomas Edison

• Inventor and Businessman
• Invented the light bulb.
• Patented the Electric Distribution Center in 1888
Held 1,093 patents

Click here to learn about Edison's most famous inventions.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 4.03.33 PM.pngEdison's Patent Application for the Light Bulb (1880)

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.31.08 AM.pngThomas Edison, Electricity and America from the Library of Congress

Thomas Edison

J.P. Morgan

• Financier, Banker, Philanthropist, and Art Collector.
• Arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thompson-Houson Electric Company to form General Electric in 1892.
• After his death, he bequeathed most of his art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
• After his father’s death, JP Morgan took control of J.S. Morgan & Co.

external image John-D-Rockefeller-sen.jpg

John D. Rockefeller

• Industrialist and Philanthropist.
• Founded the Standard Oil Company in 1862.
• Before his death, Rockefeller became the wealthiest man in the world, and the first Billionaire. He held 90 percent of the world's oil refineries, 90 percent of marketing of oil, and one-third of all the oil wells.
See also John D. Rockefeller was the Richest Person to Ever Life. Period
• “His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and was instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever.”
• For more, visit The Rockefellers from PBS American Experience.

Cornelius Vanderbilt, before 1877
Cornelius Vanderbilt, before 1877

Cornelius Vanderbilt

• Entrepreneur
• His railroad company's name was Accessory Transit Company.
• He acquired the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1862-63, the Hudson River Railroad in 1864, and the New York Central Railroad in 1867. In 1869, they were merged into New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.

primary_sources.PNGFor primary documents from the Library of Congress (including maps, the first telegraphic message, and nursery rhymes of the time) and helpful suggestions and resources for teachers, visit the Teacher's Guide Primary Source Set: The Industrial Revolution in the United States.

Female_Rose.pngWomen in Business and the Cult of Domesticity

Women in Business: A Historical Perspective, Smithsonian

Enterprising Women--A History

Notes on the Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 12.30.24 PM.pngHow Did the Cult of Domesticity Oppress and Empower Women in the Nineteenth Century?

Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Products
Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Products

Quill_and_ink.pngMadame C. J. Walker

Multimedia.pngMadame C. J. Walker in the National Archives

external image Lydia_Pinkham.png
Quill_and_ink.pngLydia Pinkham Estes

See also a biography of Lydia Estes from Women Working, 1800-1930

See also Influential Biography page on Hetty Green, The Richest Woman in America in the Gilded Age

external image Test_hq3x.pngSample MCAS Test Question (2008)

Which of the following groups of people were the primary builders of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States?
A. federal prison laborers
B. Chinese and Irish immigrants
C. captured Confederate soldiers
D. slaves and free African Americans
Correct Answer: B

Click here to learn about the experiences of Chinese-American and Irish-American workers on the Central-Pacific Railroad, the Western-most section of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Works Cited

[1] (2007). The IndustrialRevolution. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from The American History Web Site: http://americanhistory.about.com/od/industrialrev/a/indrevoverview_2.htm
[2] (2007). The Industrial Revolution. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Library of Congress Web Site:
[3] (2007). The Industrial Revolution. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_revolution
[4] (2007). Alexander Graham Bell. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell
[5] (2007). Andrew Carnegie. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Carnegie
[6] (2007). Thomas Edison. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison
[7] (2007). JP Morgan. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Morgan
[8] (2007). John D. Rockefeller. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Rockefeller
[9] (2007). Cornelius Vanderbilt. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from Wikipedia Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_Vanderbilt