Reconstruction and Industrialization

Time Period
1865  - 1890
The Civil War devastated the South and the campaign to rebuild it was known as Reconstruction. It was a flawed effort, with political battles in Washington, D.C., southern mistrust of northern profiteers and the unresolved rights of newly freed slaves.

As Reconstruction wound down in the 1870s, the United States was emerging as an industrial giant. The rise of Industrial America brought expanded railroads, along with such new industries as petroleum refining, steel manufacturing and electrical power. The economic growth saw significant changes in American society, with a new class of wealthy industrialists, along with an expanded middle class and working class.

The plight of the blue collar working class, low pay amid rough conditions, that helped labor unions take hold. Many farmers, facing falling prices because technological changes led to increased production, gave up and moved to cities in search of better jobs and prosperity.

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Sharecropper plowing- Library of Congress, LC-USF34-018201-E

Ruined buildings in Richmond, Va. after the Civil War- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-33070

African Americans voting for the first time- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-37947

Factory and locomotive- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-npcc-30843

Cotton mill workers- National Archives and Records Administration.gif

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