The Industrial Revolution and the First World War


The industrial revolution and the First World War are the two historical events that produced a tremendous effect on the development of the United States. They changed the course of history and laid the foundation of modern-day society by forming the principles and technologies that people currently use. Given the pivotal nature of these events, this paper will summarize certain aspects such as core industries, immigrants’ roles, imperialism, and foreign policy to form a deeper understanding of the history.

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Basic Industries of America’s Industrial Revolution

The sphere of machinery became one of the most influential in the American industrial revolution (Stearns, 2018). The production of advanced mechanisms that simplified human labor or substituted them for greater efficiency and speed was one of the factors that allowed the industrial revolution to happen. The second critical industry was transportation. The vast lands of North America had to be traversed rapidly in order to create economic value, which was achieved through building railroads.

The Reasons for Industrial Barons’ Success

The people who controlled the largest companies were often innovators and successful managers who used their talent to maximize the profit of their enterprises (Stearns, 2018). Strategic decision-making also contributed to their competitiveness. People like Tomas Somers, one of the pioneers in the U.S. cotton industry, harnessed the power of technology to create one of the most productive cotton mills of his time (Stearns, 2018). This advantage allowed him to be one of the most influential individuals in the field. Thus, there were multiple factors contributing to the success of people who controlled the industries, including technology, strategic thinking, managerial prowess, and talent.

Role of Immigrants in Industrialization

Immigrant labor was widely used in the U.S and became one of the aspects that sped up industrialization. In this historical period, the country struggled from the insufficiency of the labor force. Workers such as slaves imported from Africa or immigrant employees had to be sourced from abroad. Since this was only partly satisfying the growing demands of factories and farms, U.S. entrepreneurs had to rely on technology to compensate for the lack of manpower.

Role of Imperialism in World War I

Imperialism was one of the major causes of the First World War due to its competitive nature (Hindley, 2017). Colonies as sources of cheap labor and natural resources were attractive to many nations, which constantly produced conflicts of interests and local wars that resulted in political polarization and, ultimately, World War I. A decline in the power of one empire often led to the neighboring ones initiating claims to its territories, which eventually happened with the Ottoman Empire (Hindley, 2017). Such behavior also became the reason for a major continental war.

U.S. Foreign Policy Leading to Joining World War I

The U.S. foreign policy of neutrality fueled mostly by president Wilson was overpowered by Congress declaring war on Germany (Hindley, 2017). The reason for such a shift was the disruption of major trading routes in the Atlantic, on which America depended in its trade with Britain and Europe. The inability to maintain peaceful trade and constant attacks of the U.S. trade vessels by Germany caused Wilson and Congress to alter their foreign political motives towards the protection of national interests.


All in all, the two events produced a massive impact on the United States. The core spheres in the industrial revolution included machinery and transportation. The reasons for big business owner’s success were their strategic, managerial, and technological skills. Immigrants were used to satisfying the growing need of industries for the workforce. The competitiveness and rivalry became the reason for Imperialism leading to World War I. The U.S. joined this war because its national interests were harmed by Germany.

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Hindley, M. (2017). World War I changed America and transformed its role in international relations. Web.

Stearns, P. N. (2018). The industrial revolution in world history (4 ed.). Boulder, Colo: Routledge.

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