H CS 12

Industrialization and Progressivism (1877-1920)

Ignited by post-Civil War demand and fueled by technological advancements, large-scale industrialization began in the United States during the late 1800s. Growing industries enticed foreign immigration, fostered urbanization, gave rise to the American labor movement and developed the infrastructure that facilitated the settling of the West. A period of progressive reform emerged in response to political corruption and practices of big business.

Content Statement

12. Immigration, internal migration and urbanization transformed American life.

Content Elaborations

Mass immigration at the turn of the 20th century made the country more diverse and transformed American life by filling a demand for workers, diffusing new traits into the American culture and impacting the growth of cities.

Many people left their farms for the cities seeking greater job opportunities. The Great Migration marked the mass movement of African Americans who fled the rural South for the urban North. They sought to escape prejudice and discrimination and secure better-paying jobs. They helped transform northern cities economically (e.g., as workers and consumers) and culturally (e.g., art, music, literature).

Urbanization transformed the physical nature of cities. Central cities focused on industry and commerce. Buildings became taller and tenement buildings provided housing for working families. Cities acquired additional land as they expanded outward.

The crowding of cities led to increased crime with the development of gangs. Improvements in transportation (e.g., trolleys, automobiles) facilitated the development of suburbs. A growing middle class could easily commute between residential areas and the central cities for business and recreation.

The demand for resources and land in the West changed the life of the American Indians, who through a series of treaties and government actions continued to be displaced from their ancestral lands.

Expectations for Learning

Analyze and evaluate how immigration, internal migration and urbanization transformed American life.