Smithsonian

Mini-DBQ: Inventions

Historical Context

Before the Civil War, the United States was mainly composed of farms and small towns. The pace of industrial growth was slower in the United States than in Europe. Land was plentiful and Americans found farming to be more profitable than working in the factories. By 1900, the United States became the greatest industrial nation in the world. Sharecropping and child labor contributed to the rapid growth during industrialization—and also contributed to the problems generated by that growth.

Directions

The following question is based on the accompanying documents (A–E). As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view.

1. Carefully read the document-based question. Consider what you already know about the topic. How would you answer the question if you had no documents to examine?
2. Now, carefully read the document, underlining key phrases and words that address the document-based question. You may wish to use the margin to make brief notes. Answer the questions that follow each document.
3. On the basis of your knowledge and the information found in the documents, formulate a thesis that directly answers the question.
4. Organize supporting and relevant information into a brief outline.
5. Write a well-organized essay proving your thesis. The essay should be logically presented and should include information both from the documents and from your own knowledge outside of the documents.

Question

Compare and contrast the ways industrialization affected the lives of workers and farmers from 1870 to 1920.