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Indiana in the early 20th century


Henry Smith Lane
Henry Smith Lane

As a U.S. senator for Indiana, after the war, Morton enthusiastically supported the effort by the Radical wing of the Republican Party to impose racial equality on the South. This policy got only moderate support in his state. Nevertheless, in this period blacks gained the right to vote and to hold office in Indiana.

Control of the state government was returned to the Democrats in 1872. From this time until 1917, neither party could establish dominance over the other. Hoosier voters continued a tendency they have shown in elections since the 1840s: They tend to vote for one major party nationally and for the opposition party for state and local offices.

The trend toward large-scale mechanized agriculture, which began in Indiana before the Civil War, continued in the decades following the war. Between 1860 and 1890, as new agricultural implements were invented and old ones were improved, the investment by Hoosiers in farm machinery more than doubled. To take advantage of their increased productivity, many Indiana farmers purchased additional land, often going heavily into debt to do so. In addition, the amount of available farmland in the state was expanded by the use of drainage systems in poorly drained areas.

The postwar era in Indiana was also marked by substantial industrial growth, stimulated initially by the war itself. Numerous small factories were built throughout the state to help meet the growing demand for manufactured goods in Indiana and in the Midwest. Mining also became a major economic activity.

Coal mining operations on a large scale were spurred by the demands of heavy industry and by the railroads, which used coal for fuel. In addition, limestone quarries were extensively developed in southern Indiana. In 1886 the discovery of natural gas in east central Indiana led to a flurry of industrial growth in that region. However, the natural gas was used wastefully, and the supply was nearly exhausted within 15 years. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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