The United States emerged as an industrial giant following the Civil War. Old industries did well. New industries developed, including petroleum refining, steel manufacturing and electrical power. Railroads also grew tremendously. Following advancements in the industrial growth, a new class of wealthy industrialists and a prosperous middle class developed. It also produced a vastly expanded blue-collar working class.
However, not everyone benefited from these advancements. Many workers were not employed for part of the year and the wages were relatively low when they did work.
Many workers joined labor unions as a result. Farmers faced the challenges of falling prices for farm products as technology improved. Young people moved to the city in search of better job opportunities. Americans born in the 1840s and 1850s were the key witnesses of the transformation.
Light evolved from using candles, to kerosene lamps to electric light bulbs. The industrial revolution drastically changed how people worked and where they lived. The Industrial Revolution caused the migration of millions of people from rural America to the nation’s rapidly growing cities.
Source: Rise of Industrial America
The Library of Congress