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The second industrial revolution brought numerous benefits to modern society and specifically the Americans. This is evident in the widespread growth and development initiatives the resulted from the same. The period of this revolution was characterized by great technological developments and entailed rapid industrialization in the society during the final third of the 19th century. This period originated from the first industrial revolution that had slow revolution of technology and macroinventions before the year 1870 (Griffin 22). Moreover, the developments that took place in the Second Industrial Revolution originated from the earlier innovations in the fields of manufacturing among them being the establishment of the machine tool industry, the invention of the Bessemer Process and the developments of manufacturing parts that are interchangeable. This period lasted between the years 1870 and 1914 (Hine 53).
According to the views of Andrew Carnegie, the Second Industrial Revolution involved the philanthropic form of leadership that called for the rich to help the poor citizens to help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor by giving their wealth to the society in a responsible manner (Carnegie 12). The second form of leadership was that of Social Darwinism where the rich, who had the knowledge of accumulation of wealth and prosperity in the society, were required to use their money to help the poor to uplift the economic situations. Finally, the leadership style of capitalism was also a component of the Second Industrial Revolution and this is because Carnegies believed that this form of leadership led to economic growth of both the rich and the poor (Carnegie 17). He had the belief that if rich became wealthier, they would create more opportunities for economic growth and encourage circulation of funds in the economy which would also benefit the poor.
The conditions for the Second Industrial Revolution on the other hand, according to Russel Conwell, ensured that the society develops a mindset that could help in fostering growth. The first condition was for the citizens to maintain a ready mind that was ready to accept the possibilities within their environments before seeking opportunities outside. The second condition was to focus on the familiar in new ways in order to encourage invention from the common objects and ideas they had around them. The third condition was to learn from the society, find opportunities and develop ways of exploiting such opportunities to help in economic development (Conwell 32). Finally, there was the condition that the society should give knowledge more importance than capital and that lack of capital should not be an excuse for not engaging in starting a business for economic development.
There were various ramifications that were present during the Second Industrial Revolution and one of them was the high degree of capitalism where the rich were the ones who had the source of income. In this manner, the opportunities for promoting industrial revolution were in the hands of the few rich people in the community, this slowed down the process of economic growth. The second ramification, according to Russel Conwell, was the belief of the citizens where they had the perception that the sources of revenue and economic development were not within their reach and they had to seek opportunities outside their countries of origin (Conwell 45).
During the period of Second Industrial Revolution, technology greatly helped in the prompting massive social, cultural and economic change. In terms of social change, there were great changes in the acceptance of Americans as illustrated in The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus. In this light, Emma Lazarus explains that the change of the social perspective of the American people led to construction of the Statue of Liberty in the United States to contrast the ideas behind The Colossus of Rhodes. In this manner, Emma Lazarus posits that the Statue of Liberty was constructed to promote peace between Americans and the foreigners and immigrants in the United States; this is because the statue is a symbol of a woman inviting the foreigners into the country for personal development and the economic growth of the country (Lazarus 238). The second social change prompted by technology is evident in The Workers Anvil where there was social inequality and discrimination between the rich and the poor where the factory owners could enjoy huge profits while the employees worked in harsh conditions and had poor living standards, this was in addition to the fact that there was poor workplace safety (Griffin 25).
The cultural changes that resulted from the technological developments involved the changes in the lifestyles of the citizens because of the diverse revolutionary inventions such as the inception of telephone, and electric bulb, these developments improved the living and working conditions of the society to the better (Griffin 10). Additionally, the technological changes in America led to the movement of people from the rural areas to the urban areas to seek sources of employment. This movement changed the social structure of the nation as the rural composed more of the aged while the urban areas composed more of the youth (Griffin 14). The economic change due to the Second Industrial Revolution on the other hand was characterized by heavy industrialization of the society which led to the growth in manufacturing, railroad construction and iron and steel production. The development of industries during this period led to great economic prosperity in America.
There were also effects of Second Industrial Revolution to issues such as the division of labor, capitalism, union movement and entrepreneurship. In terms of division of labor, the Second Industrial Revolution greatly helped in encouraging division of labor and that the rich should focus on the distribution of their wealth to the society in a responsible manner to benefit the society (Carnegie 75). The poor on the other hand were tasked with the use of the wealth that the rich distribute for personal growth and help in building the economy. In terms of labor movement, industrial revolution led to the formation of labor unions and created awareness to the society because the owners of the factories were subjecting workers to poor working conditions and giving them low pay (Hine 56). Capitalism also changed due to industrial revolution because it helped in devolving power and the sources of creation of wealth to help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor; this was to help in reducing inequality. In this light, Carnegie planned to maintain capitalism but ensure that the rich in the society give out their wealth for the good of the public (Carnegie 82). Finally, industrialization also changed as the citizens developed ideas that they used to exploit opportunities in the economy; this led to the development of entrepreneurship in the country.
Urbanization, migration, immigration and the growth of population due to the Second Industrial Revolution also led to various changes in the society relating to economic and cultural change and reform. One of the effects of such to the economic change is that urbanization led to industrialization of towns; this made America to change from a country with small towns and farms to a country with big cities and factories that spur economic development (Griffin 60). As a result, the United States became the wealthiest country in the world due to the vast economic prospects it had. Cultural change due to the urbanization, migration, immigration, and the growth of population also led to cultural change in American because there was mixing of people from different regions who conform to different cultures thereby leading to assimilation and fusion of the cultures (Lazarus 238). The result was the development of an amalgam culture composed of the fusing different cultures in the country.
As a result of the Second Industrial Revolution, capitalism emerged as the dominant economic pattern. This is due to the fact that capitalism lifted both the rich and the poor economically. In this case, although capitalism increased the gap between the rich and the poor, it helped in improving the living standards of the poor (Hine 22). In this light, capitalism greatly helped the rich, while they were still alive, to distribute their wealth in a responsible way for the good of the public. The capitalist pattern also conformed to the teachings of religion on giving back to the society and caring for the poor and ensured that the rich helped in improving the living conditions of the poor. In this manner, the capitalist pattern also helped in promoting the gospel of wealth that Andrew Carnegie proposed. Finally, the capitalist pattern that was developed after the Second Industrial Revolution confirmed the principles of Social Darwinism that it is the rich who are more suitable than others and that it is the rich that have the most knowledge about how to acquire wealth and prosper in the society (Carnegie 87). The capitalist pattern therefore placed the rich at a position where they had the biggest opportunity to prosper by owning the sources of revenue.
Carnegie, Andrew. "The gospel of wealth." (1889).
Conwell, Russell Herman, and Robert Shackleton. Acres of diamonds. Harper & brothers, 1915.
Griffin, Laura. The Workers Anvil. W.D. Griffing, (1900).
Hine, Lewis. "Child Labor in the Canning Industry of Maryland." United States Library of (1909).
Lazarus, Emma. "The new colossus ." The great thoughts (1985): 238.
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