Reunited by the Union victory in the Civil War, America faced an era of reconstruction during which the value of the individual was reanalyzed and redefined in law. After the reconstruction, a sense of peace and prosperity calmed the American people. Given hope by their success in maintaining the Union, the Progressive Era ensued. The previously forgotten vision of Alexander Hamilton was reborn and finally implemented. America was no longer the land of the yeoman farmer. Denizens of rural areas moved to the city and sought to work in the gradually industrializing regions of the country. As big business gained power, the laborers sought to achieve the American Dream of economic prosperity through self-improvement in a laissez faire economy.
…show more content…
manufacturing had increased by about 175%, almost triple what it was in 1864, stopping only in the early 1890s during the economic crisis. America's unstoppable economy was industrializing and maximizing its proficiency, surpassing the economy and industrial power of any other country on Earth. The average American citizen was becoming a consumer, as opposed to a producer, but as a whole the country was still a greater overall producer than any other country. America had become an economic superpower, superior to any other governed body. And thusly, the American Dream was stronger than ever, and American exceptionalism became reality. No nation met America's standard of greatness. Fig. 2. "Figure 17.2 Index of U.S. Manufacturing Production, 1864-1914." Chart. America and its Peoples: A Mosaic in the Making. An illustration taken from our textbook, showing the increase in manufacturing over the years 1864 - 1914.
Figure 2 shows the dramatic incline of American production. The availability of resources in America fueled further industrialization, emphasizing the cycle of growth. With this production came a sense, as well as a reality, of superiority. America wielded a power fearsome to any country who could measure it. Many Americans sought to control a portion of this power. Aptly named "big businesses" were created as a result of the industrialization of America. As previously mentioned, John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie implemented