100 word discussion reply post 2

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During the Industrial Revolution America shed its identity as an agrarian society and became an industrial giant. Steel manufacturing and railroads were the most prominent big businesses and the men in charge gained their power by dominating their respective industries. Railroad corporations began issuing stock to raise capital from investors who enjoyed “limited liability” (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2013, p. 473). The railroad industry’s power soon became labeled a monopoly because its power went unchecked within the laissez-faire model of business at the time. The steel industry was championed by Andrew Carnegie who found success by becoming involved in steel production rather than just building with steel. Carnegie invested in the Bessemer-Kelly process which was a more efficient way to manufacture steel using less skilled manpower. Another key to Carnegie’s overwhelming success was his reliance upon vertical instead of horizontal integration. Vertical integration exists when one company controls other businesses who produce all of the necessary components and phases of production that combine to produce their end product. In contrast, horizontal integration is when one company buys out competing companies in order to reduce competition. To further expand his success, Carnegie also purchased ships, railroads, mines, and smelting operations (Keene et al, 2013). Without a steady influx of immigrants to America during the Industrial era, there would not have been enough people willing to work for such meager wages. Our Week 5 Lesson says that by 1900, one-third of all Americans were foreign-born or first-generation Americans born to foreign-born parents.

Imperialism was a driving force behind World War I. Germany aimed to become the most powerful European nation. It had strengthened its Navy, established colonies, and also defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War ending in 1871. Russia and Austria-Hungary were both angling to control the Balkans because it would give them easy access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East (Keene et al, 2013). Arch-Duke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination was ultimately the catalyst of WWI and encouraged Germany to join the fight since they were allies of Austria-Hungary. Russia joined in to help the Serbians. According to Keene et al (2013), the U.S. took a neutral stance to the war which initially involved Britain, France and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary. It wasn’t until Germany sent a torpedo into the British ship the Lusitania, ultimately sinking it and killing 1198 passengers including 128 Americans, that prompted the U.S. to shift its stance (A&E Television Network, 2019). Wilson earned his second presidential election in 1916 under the campaign slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.” Unfortunately, the U.S. found that staying neutral was become exceedingly difficult. Wilson was concerned that there would be a U.S. recession if the warring nations refused to trade with the states. Theoretically, the U.S. could have continued trading with both sides, they primarily helped the Allies, and ultimately Britain’s Navy blockade made trade with Germany impossibly. After continued provocation by Germany involving attempted secret deals with Mexico and engaging in unrestricted marine warfare designed to elicit the Allies’ capitulation, Wilson finally asked Congress for a declaration of war on April 2, 1917, two and a half years after the war had begun (Keene et al, 2013).

References

A&E Television Networks. (2019) The U.S. officially enters WWI. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/america-enters-world-war-i (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Chamberlain College of Nursing (2019). HIST405N Week 5: Industrialization, immigration, imperialism[Online lesson]. Downers Grove, IL: DeVry Education Group.

Keene, J., Cornell, S. & O’Donnell, E. (2013). Visions of America: A History of the United States (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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