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Advanced Placement United States History

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Chapter 17: Industrial America: Corporations and Conflicts (1877-1911) Notes


Advanced Placement United States History

Period 3

The Rise of Big Business

Industrialization in Europe and America revolutionized the world economy

The immense scale of agriculture and manufacturing prompted a long era of deflation

Andrew Carnegie said that even though the industrialization increased the gap between the rich and the poor, it bettered everyone’s standard of living

Growth depended on America’s large and growing population, expansion into the West, and an integrated national marketplace

Innovators in Enterprise

The US became an industrial power by tapping North America’s vast natural resources, particularly in the West

Industries switched from water power to coal

Production and Sales

Swift invented the assembly line, where each wageworker repeated the same slaughter task and over and over

Swift also pioneered vertical integration, a model in which a company controlled all aspects of production from raw materials to finished goods

Standard Oil and the Rise of the Trusts

Rockefeller pioneered the horizontal integration strategy, which is the process of a company increasing production of goods or services at the same part of the supply chain. A company may do this via internal expansion, acquisition or merger.

Trust: a small, organized group of associates (the board of trustees) to hold stock form a group of combined firms, managing them as a single entity

The Corporate Workplace

Pre-Civil War, most boys had hoped to become farmers, small-business owners, or independent artisans

After the Civil War, more and more Americans (male and female) began working for someone else

White collars were the were corporate workers who held professional positions

Blue collars were the workers who labored with their hands

Managers and Salesmen

Middle managers directed the flow of goods, labor, and information throughout the enterprise

Drummers, or traveling salesmen, were a common sight; they introduced merchants to new products, offered incentives, and suggested sales displays

Women in the Corporate Office

In large corporations, secretarial work became a dead-end job, and so they started assigning it to women

New technologies provided additional opportunities for women

The rise of the telephone was notable because thousands of young women found work as telephone operators

⅓ worked in domestic service

⅓ in industry

⅓ in office work, teaching, nursing, or sales

Unskilled Labor and Discrimination

As manager deskilled production (more mass production work), the ranks of factory workers more heavily included women and children

Men often resented women’s presence in the factories, and male labor unions often worked to exclude women

Women vigorously defended their right to work

Employers in the North and West recruited newly arrived immigrants

Immigrants, East and West

In the new industrial order, immigrants made an ideal labor supply

They took the worst jobs at low pay, and during economic downturns tens of thousands returned to their home countries, reducing the shock of unemployment in the US

Many Native-born Americans viewed immigrants with hostility and feared that immigrants would take more coveted jobs and erode white men’s wages

Asian Americans and Exclusion

Chinese Exclusion Act: barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States

Wasn’t repealed until



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