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formed so large a part of the intellectual life of the period, affected legislation, and exercised profound influence on business.
In the opening years of the Twentieth century National thought was largely concerned with the subject of
government control of wealth and its production. Periodical literature treated of this more than of any other
Circuit courts, inferior only to the Supreme Court itself. Most of the business that came before the Supreme Court was of this nature and the decisions of that body, almost without exception, favored government supervision and regulation of the business activities of the country. Inheritance taxes were placed on the
single topic. National and State legis- statute books of nearly every State
lation favored a more comprehensive and more effective government control of business. It were not too much to
and early in 1912 the proposal to amend the constitution so as to authorize a Federal income-tax was so
say that in the two decades ending popular that it was ratified by many State legislatures.
with 1910 more than one half the legislation of the country bore directly or indirectly upon this matter. The merest reference to some of the measures to this end will serve to indicate the importance this question assumed in our National life. The socalled "anti-trust" laws, State and National, were numbered by the score. Municipal control of ownership of public utilities was established in many commonwealths and municipalities. To the National Interstate Commerce Commission were given powers that made its members virtual dictators of the railroad business of the country. In 1910 Congress created a Commerce Court, with jurisdiction, as its title indicates the only important addition to the Federal judiciary since the establishment of the District and
* C. B. Spahr, An Essay on the Present Distribution of Wealth in the United States (New York, 1896); Statistical Abstract (Bureau of Statistics, Washington, 1865–1910); R. R. Bowker, Reader's Guide in Economic, Social and Political Science (New York, 1891); H. Gannett, Building of a Nation; Growth, Present Condition and Resources of the United States (New York, 1895); J. J. Lalor (ed.), Cyclopedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States (3 vols. Chicago, 1881-84); Sir S. Morton Peto, Resources and Prospects of America (London, 1866); Census reports, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910; T. D. Woolsey (ed.), The First Century of the Republic (New York, 1876); Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review (New York, 1840-70); David A. Wells, Recent Economic Changes (New York, 1891); J. A. Collins, The Distribution of Wealth in the United States (Senate Doc. 75, 55th Congress, 2d session); Wealth, Debt and Taxation (Eleventh and Twelfth Census reports, 1890 and 1900); M. G. Mulhall, Dictionary of Statistics (London, 1884); L. B. Ruggles, The United States of America (New York, 1880); L. H. Bailey, Agricultural Cyclopedia of America (4 vols., New York, 1907).
Our chief industries and their relative importance - Historical order of industrial development — Production of steel and iron-Importance of their manufactures - Progress in the cotton and woolen industries — Production of petroleum The lumber industry-Factors favoring our industrial expansion - Exports of manufactures - Mining and mineral products-Statistical summary of manufactures.
The principal industries of the United States are agriculture, manufacturing, mining, forestry and fisheries. Were we to consider the subject from the standpoint of occupations rather than that of industries in the ordinary acceptation of the term, commerce and transportation should also be mentioned, since the number of persons engaged in trade and transportation ranks third in the great groups of occupations. Considering the number of persons employed, agriculture stands first, manufactures second, and trade and transportation third. The census of 1900 showed the number of persons engaged in agricultural pursuits, 10,381,765; in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits, 7,085,309; in trade and transportation, 4,766,964; in domestic and personal service, 5,580,657; and in professional service, 1,258,538. In value of products, however, manufactures stand at the head of the list, with agriculture second, mining third, forestry fourth,
and fisheries fifth. Moreover, the growth in value of products from decade to decade and the figures for these various lines are based only on the decennial census is more rapid in manufactures than in agriculture. The census of 1870 gave the number of persons engaged in agriculture as 5,922,471 and that of 1900 as 10,381,765. The value of the product in 1870 was $1,958,030,927 and in 1900 $4,717,069,973. Thus the number of persons employed has scarcely doubled and the value of the product a little more than doubled in these 30 years. In manufactures, however, the figures of 1870 showed the number of wage earners as 2,053,996 and in 1900, as 5,308,406; and the value of the product in 1870 as $4,232,325,442 and in 1900 as $13,004,400,143, the number of persons engaged in manufacturing having increased more than 150 per cent. and the value of the product more than 200 per cent. In minerals the value of the product was $218,598,994 in 1870, and $1,107,031,392 in 1900, hav
Prepared for this History by Oscar P. Austin, ing quintupled in the period under consideration. The census of 1910 shows
Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, Department of
the number of wage earners employed in the manufacturing industries as 6,615,046, an increase of nearly 25 per cent. over 1900; while the value of the product the same year was $20,672,052,000, showing a gain of more than 50 per cent. over 1900. The increase in the number of persons engaged in agriculture is as great as that employed in manufactures.
While the subject of agriculture in the United States is discussed elsewhere in this work, it may be proper to compare the growth in that industry with that in manufactures and mining, by way of indicating the relative importance (past and present) and the prospect of each. It seems not unreasonable to assume from an examination of the figures above quoted that manufacturing is to be in the near future if, indeed, it be not already the leading industry of the United States, although at the present moment the number of persons actually employed in agricultural pursuits is greater than that in manufacturing.
In many respects the industrial history of the United States is similar to that of other temperate zone countries occupied by occidental peoples. Agriculture was naturally the first occupation of the people. Food was the primary requirement; for, while clothing was necessary, a part of this, in the earlier stages of the history of the country, was produced from the skins of animals captured primarily for food. Thus man gave his chief attention to the development of the soil and
production of the type of food which it supplies. Later, with the increased supply of domestic animals and the developments in the production of cotton, the manufacture of materials for clothing began. Woolen goods were among the first. The necessities of everyday life required also manufactures of iron of the cruder type, and hence the manufacture of iron and, a little later of steel, came early, though in comparatively simple forms.
In the meantime man learned, after many years of experiment, that coal could be used in the manufacture of iron. For many years
fact he had manufactured his iron. by the use of charcoal. Later he learned to apply to coal a process somewhat similar to that by which wood was turned into charcoal, and by transforming the coal into coke produced iron and steel from the heat supplied by coal. Then came the Bessemer process of steel-making and other similar processes, by which the proper amount of carbon was combined with the iron by forcing air through the molten metal, and the production of steel was greatly cheapened and the quantity produced greatly increased. This process,
while it developed in England somewhat earlier than in the United States, had been thought out almost simultaneously by Americans and came into general use in the United States but a short time after its adoption in England and the other manufacturing countries of Europe. Sir Henry Bes