Economic development of the United States

During the last third of the 19th century, the USA he experienced an accelerated development of his industry ; in 1890 the industrial production surpassed the agricultural one and surpassed that of the European capitalist countries.

United States economy history
This development contributed to the abundance of indispensable raw materials (iron, coal, oil, copper), immigration, the high investment of foreign capital, the agricultural and livestock exploitation, the rapid settlement of the West, facilitated by the penetration of the railroad (see history of the train ), that in 1869 the Atlantic-Pacific communication was achieved), and the free distribution of homesteads (State plots).

Wages, relatively higher than in the other industrialized countries, forced entrepreneurs to perfect production techniques and worry about rationalizing work; It is the time of great inventions (electric light, telephone , etc.).

Capitalist concentration intensified; USA it became the country of big trusts and monopolistic financial groups (Morgan and Carnegie in steel, Rockefeller in oil, Vanderbilt in railroads, etc.).

In the presidency, the republican party (spokesman of the big industrial and financial protectionists) and the democrat (large agricultural owners and free-trading financiers) took turns ; the interdependence of the governmental apparatus and the economic pressure groups was accentuated, without cases of administrative corruption.

The labor movement began to organize around basic demands on working conditions and duration of the working day. The struggle for the eight-hour day was particularly hard, and the violent interventions of the police produced a very high number of victims.

In this context of conflict, the general strike of May 1, 1886 , which was to remain as a mythical date in the calendar of the international workers movement, represented in the immediate American practice a partial advance of the workers, although their organization at the time ( Gentlemen of the Work ) will pay with a repression.

history fight workers usa

This struggle continued with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), founded in 1886, which became the only US trade union center. In the second half of the nineteenth century USA He extended his influence in the Pacific area.

It secured advantageous economic conditions in China (1844), consolidated its initial penetration in Japan (1854), bought the territory of Alaska (1867) from Russia and annexed the Hawaii (1898), in addition to imposing its authority, directly or indirectly. indirectly, in Central America, by supporting governments and parties addicted to the United States.

Already in the twentieth century, after the victories in the war with Spain, USA. He was able to occupy Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the island of Guam and to ensure real control of Cuba (see Cuba’s history ), through the Platt amendment of 1901 and Santo Domingo (1905).

Colombia’s refusal to sell to the US a part of the isthmus of Panama for the construction of a canal was solved with the shipment of a fleet that proclaimed the independence of Panama in 1903 (see history of Panama ).

The new country immediately entered the US orbit, and the canal was inaugurated in 1914. The occupation of Haiti (1915) and that of the Virgin Islands (1916) soon followed. the control of the Far East route was assured.

During the years of the so-called “progressive era” (1901-17), the American middle class, which had the support of farmers and a part of the labor world, organized a movement to oppose the economic and political control of the country. the trusts and monopolies, but only reached minor reforms (spectacular processes against some leaders of the trusts, greater democratization of the electoral system and local administration).

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