In what ways did the industrial changes in post- Civil War America affect American society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the industrialization that gripped the nation after the Civil War had the weird effect of unifying a fragmented country.  The pressing condition for industrialization is something that swept the nation.  North and South could put aside their differences for a love or embrace of commerce and a belief in making money.  The titans of industry and captains of wealth did not hold on to sectional divisions of North and South.  Instead, they sought to consolidate a financial empire across the nation.  This led to a rapid industrialization for the entire nation, causing the old divisions of "slave" and "free" to simply become replaced by "rich" and "not rich."  In this, American society changed into one where capitalism was embraced by all and the desire to keep and increase wealth helped to drive its sense of being in the world.  The expansion out West and the intense appropriation of land and ideals in accordance to the subjectivity of capitalist investment is something that also helped to transform American society.  Adding to this, the rise of immigration into America brought more people that represented a ready labor pool and individuals who would not stand in the way of capitalism's transformative impact on the nation.

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