The Use Of Engines Powered By Gasoline

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Plan of Investigation
At the turn of the 20th Century, the advent of a number of new technologies posed to change the economy and society of the United States. One such technology was the internal combustion engine, which, after the last 100 years of common use, can be considered one of the most influential technologies of the 20th century. The rapid rise in the use of engines powered by gasoline is commonly attributed to the popularity of the “Model T” car introduced by Henry Ford in 1908. Prior to this, the combustion engine faced serious competition from steam and electric engines. In order to ascertain why the Model T was so successful compared to other vehicles of the time, I plan to analyze aspects of American society in the early
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In comparison, while the earliest design of combustion engines can be dated back to 1680, no practical designs were actually built by 1858. In his autobiography, Henry Ford himself makes accounts of the hesitance with which the advent of combustion engines were met, in favor of steam and electric engines. On the subject of the emergence of gas engines, he recalls that “They were received with interest rather than enthusiasm and I do not recall any one who thought that the internal combustion engine could ever have more than a limited use. All the wise people demonstrated conclusively that the engine could not compete with steam.” The time period during which the Model T’s rise to popularity took place must also be considered. From 1890 to 1920, a period of American progression aptly named the “Progressive Era” took place. Beginning as a social movement and developing into a political agenda, Progressivism refuted Social Darwinism and asserted that society’s problems, namely such issues as poverty, racism, and class warfare, could be solved by improving education, environments, and workplaces. In general, progressives believed that all people had the right to the core aspects of democracy that promoted independence. Evidence suggests that the availability of an automobile to the masses brought such a
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