The Second Industrial Revolution and World War II drastically changed society on both an economic and societal scale. The revolution was a technological advancement which was a result of increased human intellectualism. The revolution signified the creation of the American urban economy that is in-effect today. World War II was a time of unity that progressed social equality and sustained the economic growth that began during the Industrial Revolution. A further analysis of the Second Industrial Revolution and World War II will exemplify their impacts on the United States both economically and societally. Although there are distinct differences between the two time periods, World
War II and the second Industrial Revolution introduced eras of unprecedented technological and societal advancements.
During the Industrial Revolution, national transportation created a link of communication which increased the speed of innovation. This link led to increased food preservation, extended the duration of human life, and brought about a dependable economy that wasnt seen before in America.
Connecting previously isolated rural areas with urban areas, the economy transformed into a capitalist industry requiring more technological skill. By the end of this time period, the United States had become the global leader of industrial power and turned itself from an agrarian, self-independent society into an industrial urban economy. Select businessmen arose to extreme money and power. Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. Pierpont Morgan used business techniques such as creating monopolies and trusts that lead them to dominating Americas economy.
These advances allowed the economy to expand in an unstable way. The expansion of factories into corporations eliminated small shop owners making the worker-boss relationship impersonal. This lack of relationship type of labor made it easier for industries to hire unskilled workers vs skilled. Companies began hiring immigrants from Asia and Europe saturating the labor market. Therefore laborers feared their economic status was decreasing.
Laborers worked in very poor conditions for long hours and low wages. Laborers began to feel industrialism was another form of slavery. The Knights of Labors was the nations first attempt to unite laborers into one union. They saw inequality amongst them and industrialists. They coined the idea of cooperative commonwealth which was the belief that laborers should own factories and railroads not in a socialist way, but as owners and producers sense. Worker Unions conducted multiple strikes such as the Great Railroad Strike 1877 and the 1892 Homestead Strike.
It is important to note the shift in social equality. As people migrated to the urban areas there was a push for racial and gender equality. The Knights were the first to try to organize all workers including women and blacks. Therefor the conflict between laborers and industrialists brought about more social equality. The revolution required a large working class which increased the migration population. There was a huge asian immigrant population.
Many americans were not happy of this because they felt like the immigrants crowded the labor force and blamed them for the lowering wages and fear of more immigrants arriving in the future. This resulted to new political policies in the American government. Immigration law excluded specific ethnic groups such as the 1880 Chinese Exclusion Act and later the Gentlemens Agreement Acts of 1917. The Exclusion Act banned future Chinese from immigrating to America and put extreme penalties on people who attempted to do so illegally.
The average family during the Industrial Revolution was poorer compared to the average family during WWII. Women and children began to work in factories to provide for their families. Women and children labor were undergoing harsh conditions, and skilled males were receiving low wages equal to unskilled workers. The Lowell Mills Textile Factory was a famous factory known for the harsh working conditions women endured. Even though their areas of occupation were limited, it was the first time in American history women were allowed to join the workforce.
The mass production system created during the Industrial Revolution proved to be beneficial during WWII. WWII was considered the good war because of the societal, economic, and political unity. The economy depended more on women since majority of young males were being drafted. Factories that manufactured steel, temporarily turned into factories that manufactured war equipment. The economy boomed because America became a huge international supplier of war equipment. The economy during WWII resulted in keeping the US the top country in the world.
The treatment of the japanese population worsened. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Wars began. A war mentality of, kill the Japs and creation of concentration camps for all Japanese lead to higher prejudice towards Japanese. During WWII, womens field of occupation expanded. They were allowed to go to war zones as nurses to treat the wounded. In fact, women were encouraged to provide this service to their country as proven through the varied propaganda featuring women empowerment.
All young men were asked to be drafted into the military, and only one-half of 1% refused. Unlike previous wars, whites over came prejudices toward some ethnic and religious groups. WWII put men in circumstances of extreme vulnerability where they had no choice, but to trust each other. These circumstances exposed men to a much greater range of individuals and groups than most had ever known. Therefore combat platoons allowed men to learn to include Jews, Catholics, and white southerners and reject overtly racist patterns of thought and behavior.
Social and economic standards were raised during the Second Industrial Revolution and World War II. The previous agrarian economy was now transformed into an industrialized economy, with production at an all time high. Equality amongst genders gradually improved, expanding into the workplace, with women finding employment in factories. This trend continued into the Second World War as there was a drastic increase of women in the workplace. Ultimately, the second Industrial Revolution introduced ideals that were eventually implemented during World War II.
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