The Gilded Age – Expansion of America

By the late 1800’s, America had it’s second industrial revolution and allowed for the rise of new wealthy group of individuals during the period of the Gilded Age.  The first industrial revolution occurred in the mid 1800’s prior to the American Civil War, was led by the dominance of coal and iron industry.  The second industrial revolution began in the 1890’s led by the oil, steel, and railroad industry.  These major industries also helped the rise of the American Bourgeoisie with handful of powerful individuals controlling majority of the wealth in America.  Some of the prominent business owners who controlled the majority of these industries were Andrew Carnegie in the steel industry, John D. Rockefeller in the oil industry, and J.P. Morgan in the banking industry.  Although they had a monopoly in their respective industries, they were the major reason for the the rapid and massive expansion of America, especially to the Western regions of United States.  The steel industry enabled the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad, oil industry helped fuel turbine and engine machinery, and banking industry helped the financing of businesses from farming to industrial.  In addition, the Gilded Age brought forth increased number of immigrants from China, Germany, Ireland, and many other countries of Western Europe due to the demand for farming and labor workers.  This great expansion of America during the Gilded Age would continue throughout the late 1920’s and is the foundation that has kept America the leader in world economy for over a century.


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