Indiana, state, United States: Industrialization and the Labor Movement
Industrialization and the Labor Movement
Industrial development came to the Calumet region along Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline in the late 19th cent. Marshy wastelands were drained and transformed into an area supporting a complex of factories and oil refineries. As the 19th cent. drew to a close, industry continued to expand and the growing numbers of industrial workers in the state sought to organize through labor unions. Eugene V. Debs, one of the great early labor leaders, was from Indiana, and the labor movement at Gary in the Calumet area figured prominently in the nationwide steel strike just after World War I. Indiana was an early leader in the production of automobiles. Before Detroit took control of the industry in the 1920s, Indiana boasted over 300 automobile companies.
Indiana society in the first half of the 20th cent. has been described in a number of studies and books. The classic sociological study by Robert S. Lynd and Helen M. Lynd of an American manufacturing town,
Although Indiana in the latter half of the 19th cent. was regarded as a “swing state” electorally, it has generally been conservative throughout the 1900s. Republican J. Danforth “Dan” Quayle, elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 and 1986, was elected vice president of the United States in 1988. From the 1980s through the mid-1990s, the northern industrial portion of the state experienced a period of significant decline, along with the rest of the midwestern “rust belt.” However, the area around Indianapolis experienced significant growth with a diversified economy. The governor's seat has been held by Republicans since 2005, although previously Democrats were in power from 1989-2005. Notable among the Democrats was Evan Bayh (1989-97), son of Senator Birch Bayh (who served from 1963-81); Bayh was the first Democrat to hold the office in twenty years and at the time of his election the youngest governor in the country at age 33 on his inauguration. He subsequently served two terms in the Senate (1999-2011). Among the Republicans, conservative Mike Pence was elected in 2012. Pence, picked by Donald Trump as his running mate, was elected vice president in 2016, and his lieutenant governor, Eric Holcomb, was elected to succeed Pence as governor; Holcomb was reelected in 2020.
Sections in this article:
- Industrialization and the Labor Movement
- The Civil War and Its Aftermath
- Indiana Territory and Statehood
- From the Mound Builders to Tippecanoe
- Government, Politics, and Higher Education
- Facts and Figures
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