What were the social and political effects of the Industrial Revolution on the United States?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I will assume this question is for United States history and industrialism's impact on America.  The Industrial Revolution had a profound impact on the way Americans lived. As factories became more numerous in the cities of the northeast, many people moved to these urban areas.  In general, the United States shifted from its rural roots and became an urban culture. Because early industrialism was centered in the northern states, and the southern states continued to view agriculture as its bread-and-butter, sectional rivalries grew. These rivalries would become irreconcilable over time, leading to a Civil War.

The period after the Civil War is when industrialism really took off. Industrialization motivated millions of immigrants from Europe to move to the United States.  This changed the cultural makeup of this country in a profound way.  Each immigrant group brought parts of its culture to the states.  The increased populations of the cities caused a number of problems for political leaders in those cities.  For the most part, civic leaders failed to meet the housing and infrastructure needs of the larger population.  Millions of Americans lived in squalor in overcrowded tenement houses.  Over time, many questioned the unfairness of how factory workers were paid and what they were expected to do for their jobs.  They worked long, hard hours in dangerous conditions for very little pay.

All of these problems brought about by industrialism led to a powerful political movement known as the Progressive Movement.  The movement attempted to make government more responsive, while also dealing with the poor treatment of urban workers.  Both political parties had members that identified themselves as Progressives.  A variety of laws were passed to improve the living conditions of urban factory workers during the early Twentieth Century.  


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial