Urbanization, Migration, and Industrialization in America between 1900 and 1950

Term Paper Topic

Of urbanization, migration, and industrialization, which one (1) of these three (3) -tions have the largest influence on the lives and activities of millions of ordinary Americans between 1900 and 1950? Why so? What are the critical events that influenced American lives through the processes of urbanization, migration, and industrialization?

Sample Term Paper


Industrialization refers to the process by which a country transforms itself from the primary agricultural society into one that is focused on the manufacturing of goods and services. As a result of this transformation, certain discoveries are made that can make life easier for human beings. For instance, the improved modes of transportation used and mechanical innovations used in factories, among other factors become evident. As a result, the productivity of a country becomes increased, and more job opportunities are created, thus the general lifestyle of the average citizen is improved. The pattern of industrialization was almost similar in different countries; Textiles first, and food processing, then the development of transportation, followed by heavy industry and other sophisticated businesses such as metal working, electronics and even chemicals. In most cases, what follows industrial development is usually improved agricultural output, and increase in foreign trade. As a result, these factors trigger an increased population and more settlements in urban areas. This paper will analyze the effects of urbanization, migration and industrialization on the lives of Americans living between 1990 and 1950. It will determine the one factor that greatly influenced the lives and activities of ordinary Americans, as well as the critical events that triggered the three factors.

Urbanization, Migration, and Industrialization in America between 1900 and 1950

Between the 1900 and 1950, industrialization is the one factor that greatly influenced the lives and activities of ordinary Americans. Before industrialization took place, manufacturing only took place in people’s homes through the use of simple hand tools or very basic machines (Mirel 2002: 143). Due to this, production was very low, and the ordinary American had to live a low class life as there was basically very little development. The absence of sophisticated machines made all activities very difficult to handle. For instance, transport from one place to the other took very long and was very tiring, as it was done through walking or with the aid of animals. When industrialization took place, things became simple for the Americans. Movement from one place to the other became easier, the manufacturing of products could be done within a short time frame, and people were presented with employment opportunities (Mirel 2002: 145). Therefore, industrialization is the biggest influence of the lives of Americans and their activities that took place between 1900 and 1950. It is the reason why the lives of Americans improved, due to increased sources of income as a result of changes in production of goods and services. Both lives and activities were influenced in a positive way.

Industrialization during this time led to urbanization and migration. These two factors did not influence lives and activities in a major way. However, since industrialization presented new job opportunities, many citizens moved to the urban areas in hope of securing a position in a manufacturing company. The urban area seemed to be more hopeful for individuals to develop economically. Similarly, since industrialization enabled the manufacturing of more sophisticated products, transportation became simpler and more widespread (Mirel 2002: 147). This is a factor that encouraged migration in America as it was easy to move from one place and settle in another region. As a result, various cultures intermingled and coexisted.

The Critical Events That Influenced American Lives through the Processes of Urbanization, Migration, and Industrialization

The first critical event that influenced American lives through the processes of urbanization, migration, and industrialization was the civil war. This took place from 1861 to 1865, but its influence was still present in the 1900s. After the war took place, many people were left homeless and in poverty. They needed a new start and a way to survive. This is what triggered migration as people started moving to areas that held bigger opportunities; where companies were located (Gil-Alana & Singh 2014: 565). The companies were sprouting due to industrialization as machinery was required during the civil war. However, after its end, the companies switched to the manufacture of other machinery. Due to this, urbanization also took place as the regions with water and big companies offering jobs became encroached with more and more people.

Second, the World War I that took place from 1914 to 1918 is yet another influence of the three factors. It is at this time that technology truly started to improve. Telephone, wireless communication, the presence of armored vehicles and cars, and also aircrafts were all invented at this time (Tierney Jr. 2014: 220). These improved forms of machines marked industrialization. Americans became exposed to modes of communication, of warfare, and of survival that was never present before. They moved from agricultural production to the manufacture of machinery due to their demand. This presented an opportunity for many who were jobless. After the war, people were also able to move without fear towards the regions that they hoped could give them a new start. The regions with companies that manufactured equipment for war were always suitable as they required laborers. Hence, urbanization and migration were also triggered.

Lastly, the World War II that took place from 1939 to 1945 was also another influence of industrialization, urbanization and migration. America saw the need of manufacturing fighting equipment and coming up with more innovations (Tierney Jr. 2014: 221). The more improved the technology became; the more employment opportunities were presented. Therefore, industrialization triggered migration and urbanization as the people who came in search of employment encroached in the nearby places. The machinery that had already been invented previously was improved through technology. This further enhanced the process of industrialization as more companies were built to work on the advancement of machines (Tierney Jr. 2014: 225). In line with this, people were able to find a form of employment at this time. After the war, those who were held slavery, and those who lost their property needed something to enable them start over. This is why they migrated to other regions and in the process led to urbanization.


            The lives of Americans and their activities were greatly influenced by industrialization as it is the process that triggered the rest. It is because of industrialization that people were able to move easily from one region to another. Similarly, if not for the presence of big companies offering employment opportunities, people would have no need to move and settle in these regions.

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