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History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard
» PART VI. NATIONAL GROWTH AND WORLD POLITICS
» CHAPTER XVII

«·CHAPTER XVII · Railways and Industry·»


BUSINESS ENTERPRISE AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

If a single phrase be chosen to characterize American life during the generation that followed the age of Douglas and Lincoln, it must be “business enterprise”—the tremendous, irresistible energy of a virile people, mounting in numbers toward a hundred million and applied without let or hindrance to the developing of natural resources of unparalleled richness. The chief goal of this effort was high profits for the captains of industry, on the one hand; and high wages for the workers, on the other. Its signs, to use the language of a Republican orator in 1876, were golden harvest fields, whirling spindles, turning wheels, open furnace doors, flaming forges, and chimneys filled with eager fire. The device blazoned on its shield and written over its factory doors was “prosperity.” A Republican President was its “advance agent.” Released from the hampering interference of the Southern planters and the confusing issues of the slavery controversy, business enterprise sprang forward to the task of winning the entire country. Then it flung its outposts to the uttermost parts of the earth—Europe, Africa, and the Orient—where were to be found markets for American goods and natural resources for American capital to develop.


«·CHAPTER XVII · Railways and Industry·»