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1880 to 1920: Industrial Age, Progressive Era and World War I

World War I soldiers at Fort Harrison
World War I soldiers at Fort Harrison

Life changed rapidly for Hoosiers in the decades after the Civil War. Old ways withered in the new age of industry. As factories sprang up, hopes rose that economic growth would make a better life than that known by the pioneer generation.

Hoosiers were at the center of this unprecedented growth. By the end of the 19th century, Indiana was among the top 10 manufacturing states in the nation. Politics became a means by which Hoosiers created an identity, a sense of belonging to the same state and caring about it. Hoosiers would also be affected by World War I – more than 130,000 served. The state felt the effects of the Spanish Influenza pandemic gripped the nation in 1918 and 1919.

By the end of World War I, Hoosier society had greatly changed as people left farms for cities, women had fought for the right to vote and reform movements had taken hold to improve life for all.

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Suggested search terms

  • transportation
  • agriculture
  • natural gas
  • working class
  • Debs, Eugene V.
  • Republican Party
  • Democratic Party
  • Harrison, Benjamin
  • Hurty, John N.
  • Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah
  • railroad construction
  • oil well
  • steel
  • gas
  • agriculture
  • labor
  • industrial
  • Harrison, Benjamin, 1833-1901
  • Hurty, John Newell, 1852-1925
  • immigration
  • World War I
  • Fort Benjamin Harrison

Download related curriculum

Going to Town: How the Automobile Changed Indiana
Mechanization and Agriculture: The Farmers’ Dilemma
Water, Rails, Roads and Runways
Popular Music of the 1900s
The Effect of WWI on German Americans
Dangers on the River
The Reality and the Romance
Innovation and the New Orleans
The Economic Impact of the Steamboat
Steamboats Timeline

Read about this subject in Hoosiers and the American Story

Chapter 5: The Age of Industry Comes to Indiana
Chapter 6: Immigrants, Cars, Cities, and a New Indiana
Chapter 7: Progressive Era Politics and Reform

Additional Books

Related Indiana Academic Standards for Social Studies (2014)

Grade 4:  1.9, 1.10, 1.11 1.12, 3.9, 4.1, 4.2, 4.7
Grade 8:  1.21, 1.23, 4.5
USH:  2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.9

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