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After the Civil War, three amendments to the Constitution changed America.

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What was the purpose of these amendments, and why were they necessary?

The South had fewer resources, fewer people, and less industry than the North. Still, Southerners fought fiercely to defend their cause. At first, the South won victories. At one point, Confederate armies under General Robert E. Lee drove northward as far as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, before being driven back. In the last years of the war, Lincoln's most successful general, Ulysses S. Grant, used the massive resources of the North in a full-scale offensive against the South.

After devastating losses, the Confederacy finally surrendered in 1865. The struggle cost more than 600,000 lives—the largest casualty figures of any American war. Although the war left a bitter legacy, it did guarantee that the nation would remain undivided.

Economic Growth and Reform

As in Western Europe, the Industrial Revolution was transforming the United States at mid-century. By 1900, it led the world in industrial and agricultural output, thanks to many factors. It had vast natural resources, a stable government, and a growing population—supplied mostly by immigrants.

The free enterprise system and the protection of property rights allowed entrepreneurs to invest in expanding businesses. The building of railroads and new technologies that improved communication further helped farming and industry.

Business and Labor

By 1900, giant monopolies controlled whole industries. Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie built the nation's largest steel company, while John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company dominated the world's petroleum industry. Big business enjoyed tremendous profits. The growing prosperity was not shared by all. In factories, wages were low and conditions were often brutal. To defend their interests, American workers organized labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor. Unions sought better wages, hours, and working conditions. Struggles with management sometimes erupted into violent confrontations. Slowly, however, workers made gains.

The Push for Reform

When economic hard times hit in the late 1800s, the farmers also organized to defend their interests. In the 1890s, they joined city workers to support the new Populist party.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments