Menu Close

Second Industrial Revolution

The world undergone a series of industrial revolutions, which enhanced social and economic advancement. The first industrial revolution occurred in Great Britain leading to the development of new machines such as steam engines, railroads, and other advancements that promoted cultural and social-economic transformation in the society. After the first industrial revolution in Great Britain in the mid-18th century to early 19th century, the second industrial revolution followed in the U.S in the late 19th century to early 20th century (Agarwal et al., 1067). The revolution influenced an extensive growth of businesses that embrace new structures of operation anchored on innovation. This paper examines the factors that contributed to the second industrial revolution and its impact on business and the entire American society.

Pre-Condition that favored the business

            The second revolution was among the key factors that created a favorable condition for the establishment of big businesses in the United States. The revolution opened up cities, through the construction of railway and road networks. Since 1850, just after 10 years, the U.S had covered 9,000 to 30,000 miles of rail tracks with most of the money sourced from the private sector (Blackford p.17). The New York y was the center of the most construction process, and the center of most of the rail and road networks, which is why it has remained the financial hub of the United States. The road and railway networks came along with communication infrastructure, which had a considerable impact on the performance of businesses. Porter states that businesses were previously inconvenienced the past because they mostly relied on mail to communicate with their stakeholders (46). Businesses had to send multiple mails to increase the chances of getting their mails delivered to their recipients. However, it is the innovation of the telegraph that had a major impact on business communication leading to the expansion of businesses such as Western Union and banks. The inter-connection that came with the expansion of cities by rail, road, and telegraph lines contributed to the establishment and expansion of retail stores such as Montgomery, Larkin, and Sear, leading to mass retailing. Porter notes that the advancement of other technologies was a favorable precondition for the growth of big businesses (48). For instance, the innovation of new manufacturing systems helped considerably reduce the cost of operation and enhanced mass production.  Business communication was further enhanced by the innovation of the telephone later in the century. Telephone aided smooth communication between business and its stakeholders. Porters note that each innovation came about with new opportunities in the country (11). For instance, the innovation of the telephone led to the introduction of the telecommunication sector and the marketing approach.

Impact second industrial revolution

            The industrial revolution was a major boost to the economy because of the extensive growth and expansion of businesses. Porter notes that the revolution contributed to the innovation of technological tools that enhanced the rate of production and overall engagement between business and customers (111). The development of new systems enhanced the mass production of goods to meet the growing demand. The textile industry was among the leading and the largest sectors in the country amounting to approximately $1 million. However, the second industrial revolution led to the expansion of industries to surpass their operation level. For instance, the high steel demand led to the establishment of one of the biggest steel industries that amounted to $1.4 billion with more than 100,000 workers (Blackford p.19). Blackford pointed out that vertical integration was embraced by companies as a visible hand for controlling the invisible hand (20). Through integration, it was easy for businesses to develop strong measures to control the market and inhibit the forces of demand and supply termed as the force of the invisible hand.

Additionally, the industrial revolution came with the challenge of regulations of the companies. The large companies used their influence to counter any trade barriers. Blackford argues that state governments established trade impediments to prevent any form of competition (20). In this regard, companies filed lawsuits to counter any form of trade obstructions by the states. Therefore the huge size of businesses helped them to push for their agenda. The second industrial revolution and the fast expansion of business influenced the U.S government to ratify major laws on business to help in regulating business operations.

Characters of Revolution that changed the business

            The success of the industrial revolution that change the business sector was influenced by people that owned or managed huge businesses and those that participated in the innovation process. For instance, George Stephenson developed a steam-powered locomotive, Jethro Tull invented a seed drill that reduced wastage during wasteful, James Hargraves invested the machine for spinning many threads, and Robert Fulton invented steamboats. Blackford notes that business leaders such as Carnegie introduced vertical integration business, which is one of the approaches that contributed to the extensive expansion of his steel company (18). Through vertical integration, Carnegie established a steel industry with 41 mines for iron core, owned 1,000 miles of rail tracks, 213 iron smelters among other departments. The vertical integration strategy has widely been used in the world today whereby companies expand their market base.

Carnegie’s philosophy

            Andrew Carnegie argued that it was not good for society to have very rich and very poor people in the country.  In this regard, Carnegie’s philosophy of giving was based on the understanding that giving was vital for helping the needy and countering socio-economic challenges. Andrew Carnergie was an executive of the largest steel company in the United States. As one of the wealthiest persons in the U.S, he was bothered by the economic gap between the rich and the poor and noted that it was good to share wealth rather than dying with it. In this regard, Carnegie argued that “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced”. Carnegie observed that, while the industrial revolution had enhanced the growth of big businesses and increased the number of rich people, it had left a huge number of people wallowing in abject poverty. Porters note that amid the wealth generation among high and mid-income groups, the industrial revolution had left mostly minorities, and immigrants suffering in poverty (113). Therefore, Carnegie argued that it was a moral duty of the wealthy people in the society to embrace philanthropy and contribute toward programs such as education.


            The second industrial revolution took place in the U.S, leading to the growth and expansion of steel, petroleum, electricity, and rail and road infrastructure, which pre-conditions for the expansion of businesses. The revolution contributed to economic outbursts leading to the increase in wealth among many people in the society. The second industrial revolution had a huge impact on the business sector with regard to the expansion and acquisition of new systems of management. However, there was a considerable number of people that were left behind in poverty, especially minorities and immigrants. This is why Carnegie’s philosophy advocated philanthropy and the provision of social support to the needy and to participate in addressing social challenges facing society.

Share this Post