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Important Factors Leading to the Gilded Age Essay

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After the Civil War, the Second American Industrial Revolution or Gilded Age made the Americans the most industrialized people in the world. This economic phenomenon was unprecedented in history. There were several factors that led the American economic prowess and prosperity. The Americans were blessed with natural resources and a liberal immigration policy to ensure steady work force. Yet, the most important factors were technological innovation and entrepreneurial ability. As America pushed further into the latter half of the nineteenth century, the country, as well as her people began to change. According to the United States Census of 1870, the U.S. resident population was approximately 38 million and an estimated 80 percent…show more content…
Among the immigrants in the 19th century was Andrew Carnegie, born November 25th, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland, was brought to America in 1848 by his impoverished parents. Carnegie would become the king of steel industry in the 1880s, but not before mentoring from Thomas A. Scott the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In 1853 Carnegie was hired as a secretary and telegraph for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and the following years under Scott would prove to be invaluable to Carnegie, as he learned much about management and cost control. Moreover, Scott would help Carnegie with his first investments, which were inside investments, in the railroad-related industries to accrue Carnegie’s capital. After the Civil War in 1865, Carnegie would retire from the railroad business and establish the Keystone Bridge Company and invest in the iron industry. In 1867, the Keystone Bridge Company began construction on the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois. This bridge was to span the Mississippi River, and be over a mile in length which had never been accomplished before. Wrought Iron alone was too weak in order to support the span of the bridge; the solution was to use steel. Carnegie spent a fortune building this bridge due to the high cost of the steel making process; however, he began to use the Bessemer process in his factories to make steel more cost-effective.
The Bessemer
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