Economic Growth Of The Postbellum Period

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The Postbellum period in America from 1865 to the 1920s was characterized by a transformation of the American economy and unprecedented growth. Some of the largest companies founded in this time period are still around and thriving today including the Ford Motor Company, J.P. Morgan Chase, and General Electric. In addition to economic growth, there was also rapid urbanization and population growth from 31 million people in 1860 to 91 million in 1910. A shift in the market from agriculture to manufacturing partially propelled this growth. Despite the decrease in agricultural market share, the output increased threefold. By 1910, America increased its share in world manufacturing to 38.8% from 23.3% in 1870. Some economic historians such as Beard and Hacker propose that this growth is due to the Civil War. In general, there were three main spheres of influence spurring economic growth in this time period including technological advances, economic advantages and big business, and institutional changes. The Civil War ended shortly before the postbellum period. Due to the proximity in timing, it has lead many economists to examine if there was anything about the civil war that spurred the economic growth. The Beard Hacker Thesis argues that the civil war stimulated the economy and propelled industrialization based on demand from the war industries and civil war legislation. During the war, many goods were in high demand such as firearms, boots, and iron. The wartime legislation

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