Causes of the Boom?

1917, America was a leading industrial nation, that was self-sufficient

It's key industries included that it owned 70% of the world's oil and it was also the world's largest producer of coal and steel



The idea that the 'American Dream' promoted hard work and the potential for anyone to go from nothing to being the next Carnegie or Rockefeller

Carnegie- Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was an American industrialist who amassed a fortune in the steel industry then became a major philanthropist. Carnegie worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory as a boy before rising to the position of division superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859.

Rockefeller- John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust.

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Civil War

The victory in the North was important because the Southerners in Congress had blocked measures which enabled big business to develop.

For example, Banking Acts were introduced which enabled more credit to be avaliable to business.

Also post- war reconstruction 

The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 were attempts to assert some degree of federal control over the banking system without the formation of another central bank.

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Natural Resources

USA was rich in natural resources such as Copper, Iron, Oil, Gold etc.

After the Civil War, development in railways allowed people to access them more easily

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Laissez-Faire Politics

Laissez-Faire= the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering

Very little interference/ regulation in business. Could be argued that this went back to suspicion of strong, central government

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Efficiency of Farming

The Mid-West produced 30% of the world's wheat, 75% of corn and flooded food into Europe.

However small farmers struggled to compete up against larger companies

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Development of Railroads and Communications

This opened up the USA to the mass market which could be exploited by businesses.

Also provided easy access to raw materials

The invention of the Telephone and the Telegraph were also important

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Methods of Production

Vertical intergration was where the company controlled all the stages in the production and the marketing of products.

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Huge Business Corporations (Trusts)


General Motors


Standard Oil


General Electricity

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There was huge influxs into the US- 25 million between 1866 and 1915

Between 1900 and 1910, some 8 million immigrants arrived mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe.

This was the biggest influx in any decade before or since.

Immigrants came because it was quicker (Steamboats), lots of work, to flee persecution (Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Russia etc), easy to get in (only the mentally ill or crinimals were barred after 1882), and becuase the USA wheat exports had destroyed agrarian economies especially in that part of Europe.

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USA developed this for the same reasons as everybody else.

Spanish American War (1898)- The Spanish-American War of 1898 ended Spain’s colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere and secured the position of the United States as a Pacific power. U.S. victory in the war produced a peace treaty that compelled the Spanish to relinquish claims on Cuba, and to cede sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States. The United States also annexed the independent state of Hawaii during the conflict. Thus, the war enabled the United States to establish its predominance in the Caribbean region and to pursue its strategic and economic interests in Asia.

Latin America (Use of Dollar Diplomacy- the use of a country's financial power to extend its international influence and Pan-americanism-  the principle or advocacy of political or commercial and cultural cooperation among all the countries of North and South America.)

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A government Tax on imports and exports

This can encourage people to buy within the country rather than outside the country which can increase growth.

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