Following are the main points of Growth and Transformation taken from US History Book by State Department.
Between two great wars — the Civil War and the First World War, United States was transformed from a rural republic to an urban nation.
Great factories and steel mills, transcontinental railroad lines, flourishing cities, and vast agricultural holdings marked the land.
With this economic growth and affluence came corresponding problems. Nationwide, a few businesses came to dominate whole industries, either independently or in combination with others. Working conditions were often poor. Cities grew so quickly they could not properly house or govern their growing populations.
As early as 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse had perfected electrical telegraphy; soon afterward distant parts of the continent were linked by a network of poles and wires.
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell exhibited a telephone instrument.
The growth of business was hastened by the invention of the typewriter in 1867, the adding machine in 1888, and the cash register in 1897.
These and many other applications of science and ingenuity resulted in a new level of productivity in almost every field.
Concurrently, the nation’s basic industry — iron and steel — forged ahead, protected by a high tariff.
Andrew Carnegie was largely responsible for the great advances in steel production.
In the 1870s, the “corporation” and the “trust” were developed. The businessmen realized that if they could control both production and markets, they could bring competing firms into a single organization.
A 1904 survey showed that more than 5,000 previously independent concerns had been consolidated into some 300 industrial trusts.
Despite the great gains in industry, agriculture remained the nation’s basic occupation. The revolution in agriculture — paralleling that in manufacturing after the Civil War — involved a shift from hand labor to machine farming. Scarcely less important than machinery in the agricultural revolution was science.
After Reconstruction, Thirty years after the Civil War, the South was still poor, overwhelmingly agrarian, and economically dependent.
By 1890 the frontier line had disappeared.
Cattle ranchers, taking advantage of the enormous grasslands in the Frontier, had laid claim to the huge expanse stretching from Texas to the upper Missouri River.
Settlement was spurred by the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted free farms of 64 hectares to citizens who would occupy and improve the land.
In 1862 Congress also voted a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad, which pushed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa, using mostly the labor of ex-soldiers and Irish immigrants. At the same time, the Central Pacific Railroad began to build eastward from Sacramento, California, relying heavily on Chinese immigrant labor. The whole country was stirred as the two lines steadily approached each other, finally meeting on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point in Utah.
The months of laborious travel hitherto separating the two oceans was now cut to about six days. The continental rail network grew steadily; by 1884 four great lines linked the central Mississippi Valley area with the Pacific.
The first great rush of population to the Far West was drawn to the mountainous regions, where gold was found in California in 1848, in Colorado and Nevada 10 years later, in Montana and Wyoming in the 1860s, and in the Black Hills of the Dakota country in the 1870s. Miners opened up the country, established communities, and laid the foundations for more permanent settlements. Eventually, however, though a few communities continued to be devoted almost exclusively to mining, the real wealth of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and California proved to be in the grass and soil.
Next, immense cattle ranches appeared in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakota territory. Western cities flourished as centers for the slaughter of cattle and dressing of meat. The cattle boom peaked in the mid-1880s.
Long before this, however, the way of life of the Plains Indians had been destroyed by an expanding white population, the coming of the railroads, and the slaughter of the buffalo, almost exterminated in the decade after 1870 by the settlers’ indiscriminate hunting.
The United States’ first venture beyond its continental borders was the purchase of Alaska — sparsely populated by Inuit and other native peoples — from Russia in 1867. Most Americans were either indifferent to or indignant at this action by Secretary of State William Seward, whose critics called Alaska “Seward’s Folly” and “Seward’s Icebox.” But 30 years later, when gold was discovered on Alaska’s Klondike River, thousands of Americans headed north, and many of them settled in Alaska permanently. When Alaska became the 49th state in 1959, it replaced Texas as geographically the largest state in the Union.
By the 1890s, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the only remnants of Spain’s once vast empire in the New World, and the Philippine Islands comprised the core of Spanish power in the Pacific.
The Spanish-American War, fought in 1898, marked a turning point in U.S. history. It left the United States exercising control or influence over islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific.
After the fall of Santiago, Spain soon sued for an end to the war. The peace treaty signed on December 10, 1898, transferred Cuba to the United States for temporary occupation preliminary to the island’s independence. In addition, Spain ceded Puerto Rico and Guam in lieu of war indemnity, and the Philippines for a U.S. payment of $20 million.
Officially, U.S. policy encouraged the new territories to move toward democratic self-government.
U.S. involvement in the Pacific area was not limited to the Philippines. The year of the Spanish-American War also saw the beginning of a new relationship with the Hawaiian Islands.
After 1865, however, American investors began to develop the islands’ resources — chiefly sugarcane and pineapples. When the government of Queen Liliuokalani announced its intention to end foreign influence in 1893, American businessmen joined with influential Hawaiians to depose her. Backed by the American ambassador to Hawaii and U.S. troops stationed there, the new government then asked to be annexed to the United States. President Cleveland, just beginning his second term, rejected annexation, leaving Hawaii nominally independent until the Spanish-American War, when, with the backing of President McKinley, Congress ratified an annexation treaty.
In 1959 Hawaii would become the 50th state.
The major dividend of acquiring Hawaii was Pearl Harbor, which would become the major U.S. naval base in the central Pacific.
The Philippines and Guam complemented other Pacific bases — Wake Island, Midway, and American Samoa. Puerto Rico was an important foothold in a Caribbean area that was becoming increasingly important as the United States contemplated a Central American canal.
The war with Spain revived U.S. interest in building a canal across the isthmus of Panama, uniting the two great oceans. Having become a power in both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the United States saw a canal as both economically beneficial and a way of providing speedier transfer of warships from one ocean to the other.
At the turn of the century, what is now Panama was the rebellious northern province of Colombia. When the Colombian legislature in 1903 refused to ratify a treaty giving the United States the right to build and manage a canal, a group of impatient Panamanians, with the support of U.S. Marines, rose in rebellion and declared Panamanian independence. The breakaway country was immediately recognized by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Under the terms of a treaty signed that November, Panama granted the United States a perpetual lease to a 16-kilometer-wide strip of land (the Panama Canal Zone) between the Atlantic and the Pacific, in return for $10 million and a yearly fee of $250,000. Colombia later received $25 million as partial compensation. Seventy-five years later, Panama and the United States negotiated a new treaty. It provided for Panamanian sovereignty in the Canal Zone and transfer of the canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.
The completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, directed by Colonel George W. Goethals, was a major triumph of engineering.
Between 1900 and 1920, the United States carried out sustained interventions in six Western Hemispheric nations — most notably Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Washington offered a variety of justifications for these interventions: to establish political stability and democratic government, to provide a favorable environment for U.S. investment (often called dollar diplomacy), to secure the sea lanes leading to the Panama Canal, and even to prevent European countries from forcibly collecting debts.
In 1889 Secretary of State James G. Blaine proposed that the 21 independent nations of the Western Hemisphere join in an organization dedicated to the peaceful settlement of disputes and to closer economic bonds. The result was the Pan- American Union, founded in 1890 and known today as the Organization of American States (OAS).
The later administrations of Herbert Hoover (1929-33) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45) repudiated the right of U.S. intervention in Latin America. In particular, Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy of the 1930s, while not ending all tensions between the United States and Latin America, helped dissipate much of the ill-will engendered by earlier U.S. intervention and unilateral actions.
In September 1899, Secretary of State John Hay advocated an “Open Door” for all nations in China — that is, equality of trading opportunities (including equal tariffs, harbor duties, and railway rates) in the areas Europeans controlled.
With the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, the Chinese struck out against foreigners. In June, insurgents seized Beijing and attacked the foreign legations there. Hay promptly announced to the European powers and Japan that the United States would oppose any disturbance of Chinese territorial or administrative rights and restated the Open Door policy.
A few years later, President Theodore Roosevelt mediated the deadlocked Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, in many respects a struggle for power and influence in the northern Chinese province of Manchuria. President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1906).
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