International Economic Development

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Give a detailed account of America's push to become a world power from the mid 19th century to World War 1.

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Certainly economic expansion is essential to a country if it is to become a world power. Two important reasons for a strong economy are that it can support both its people and the country's military defense, both of which contribute to making a nation powerful.

In the mid-nineteenth century, America's...

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Certainly economic expansion is essential to a country if it is to become a world power. Two important reasons for a strong economy are that it can support both its people and the country's military defense, both of which contribute to making a nation powerful.

In the mid-nineteenth century, America's fecund land that produced many agricultural products, its growing industries, and mining for coal, metals, and industrial minerals attracted many European immigrants who had experienced want, famine, and civil wars in their own countries. With the influx of immigrants came new titans of industry, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, who first became a steamboat entrepreneur and then went on to build a railroad empire. The New York Central. J.P. Morgan, was another giant; he has been described as America's greatest banker because he dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation. Andrew Carnegie built a steel empire while John D. Rockefeller began with railroads and then moved to kerosene and oil pipelines. Henry Ford designed the Model T and then created the assembly line for the production of an automobile that many Americans could afford. This assembly line concept was extended to many other forms of manufacturing as it accelerated production. (This speed was essential during World War I.)

In addition, America has always had large ports for exporting and importing goods. On the coastal areas of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, there have been shipping and fishing and other related industries. The Great Lakes also have provided many occupational opportunities. Later, with the creation of the locomotive engine and the construction of the railroads across the United States, agricultural and other products could be shipped throughout the country. For example, cattle were sent to the stockyards and slaughterhouses of Chicago. Initially in states like Maryland and Virginia and later in the Midwest, there were steel mills, which were important in the manufacture of many products, especially when America went to war. This industry produced over half the world's pig iron and steel in the early 1900's. 

Manufacturing and textile mills were also numerous in the United States. So, when the United States became involved in World War I, there were many industries which could be adapted to manufacturing and producing what the country needed to protect itself.
Historians also remark that America's size and unique geographical location has provided it the advantage of many resources and more security than other countries who are part of a larger continent. Since it has not had to defend itself as would small countries, America has been able to develop safely without having to rebuild at times as have other countries.  

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