Stockman's History Extravaganza

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What We Are Covering Today

Railroads, Big Business, Native American Culture and America as an Industrial Power

Choo Choo

Railroads had a great economic impact and proved crucial to western expansion. The railroads allowed farmers and ranchers to ship their products to eastern cities. Railroads also contributed to the population growth.

In 1862, Congress coordinated and effort among railroad companies to build a transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific joined tracks in Promontory, Utah in 1869.

U.S. government often forced Native Americans to give up their lands, this negatively impacted Native Americans.

The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad


The Plains Indians greatly depend on the buffalo for food, clothing, fuel, and shelter. As settlers and fur trappers came into the region, they killed great numbers of buffalo .By 1889, only about one thousand buffalo were left on the continent.

Many Native American tribes were force to relocate to reservations. Often the governments forcibly removed the tribes again each time gold was discovered or whites needed the land. Large numbers of Native Americans died as a result of being forced to travel great distances.

BIG Business

In the years following the Civil War, the U.S. continued to become and industrialized society. A number of inventions helped to contribute to this trend. Samuel B. Morse’s and the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone, Thomas Edison's light bulb, George Westinghouse and the first alternating current to name a few. Other key inventions included the typewriter, vacuum cleaner, refrigerator cars for trains, elevators, and innovative machinery for farming such as threshers, mowers, mechanical planters.

Mass Production For The Masses

This is the process of producing goods in large numbers. Industrialization made mass production possible. Henry Ford mass produced the Model T. His assemble line allowed him to produce more cars at lower prices. Industrialization also increased due to natural resources. The Appalachian Mountains produced rich reserves of coal and iron ore. In western Pennsylvania and the southwest, oil was abundant. In the south, lumber provided a profitable enterprise due to the need for new housing. Running water from rivers and streams produced needed hydroelectricity.

Assembly Line/ Model T History Day video

The Rich and Famous of the Day

The railroad was the first industry to take off in the years following the Civil War.

The railroads allowed farmers, ranchers and other settlers to access eastern markets and resources. A few men got rich developing the railroad industry, because some of them were crooked, they became known as “robber barons”. This nickname soon became identified with wealthy businessmen in other industries as well.

Another Player

The finance capitalist were bankers who exerted economic influence through companies stocks and bonds. J.P. Morgan eventually took control over banks, insurance companies, and various stock market operations. By 1913, Morgan and his associates had assets of over 22 billion. Morgan was so rich he eventually bought out Carnegie’s steel company. He called it U.S. Steel; he paid Carnegie nearly 500 million, making Carnegie the richest man in the world.

So What Was The Impact?

Capitalism fueled industrial growth in the U.S. Capitalism is an economic system in which means of production are privately owned. Producers provide goods and services in response to market demand. As a result, producers tend to supply goods and services that people want and are willing to pay for. In a capitalist system, different producers are free to produce the same goods or services. This creates market competition. Market competition leads to lower prices as producers compete for consumers. The desire to sell goods for less encourages mass production.

Industrialization had numerous effects on the U.S. For individual citizens, increased production and new inventions meant that consumer goods were affordable. The demand for goods increased, as a result people’s standard of living tended to rise in the second half of the 1800's.In addition, technological advances like the electric trolley fueled the rise of the middle class. U.S. businesses thrived not only at home but in the international markets as well. As urban populations increased, so did democracy. Poorer citizens, immigrants and other common people gradually won a greater say in their government. As the role of urban governments increased, so did their power. Politicians sought to provide services and favors that would win the support of the people. Unions, ethnic groups and other organized groups often voted for candidates together.

The video explains the beginning of capitalism until the 1950's. It goes a bit further then what was discussed, but it does not hurt to learn a little more!

It's Everybody's Business (1954) - Educational cartoon about capitalism's history

Ms. Stockman 2013