In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the American economy thrived because of federal government involvement, not the lack of federal involvement. Discuss and explain how the U.S. government actively promoted industrial and agricultural development after Reconstruction
After the chaos of the American Civil War and the issues of Reconstruction, many American individuals found themselves within an economy that was heavily controlled by large companies which used corruption and exploitation to increase their profits whilst also diminishing the profits of smaller businesses and farmers. In the agricultural center, many famers felt that large corporations, particularly those of the banks and railroad, were exploiting them and using the freedom of their position to destroy their own businesses and livelihoods.
Within banking, many banks and financial institutions were given extreme freedom in their practices and were rarely prosecuted for wrongdoing or exploitation. Monopolies existed in many sectors, again increasing the level of inequality within American society during this time. In all, the late 19th century was a period of extreme financial inequality and corruption.
The government began to counteract this by creating a number of federal institutions to regulate both financial and business projects. Laws were passed to ban monopolies, shady business practices, and the banning of low quality goods and products. These changes greatly improved the American economy and ensured that fairness and equality was more prevalent within most industries.
This created a far more open and beneficial economy for the lower and middle classes of America, creating more productive, safe, and beneficial businesses within the country that greatly improved the economy. Government involvement also saw far more incentives towards these businesses, which again encouraged growth and the development of stable business practices.
This era eventually became known as the beginning of the Progressive Movement which would come to define American politics for the first quarter of the 20th century.