What Happened in 1870s in American History?

The 1870s were a decade of significant events and changes in American history. This period saw the end of the Reconstruction era, the rise of industrialization, and the expansion of westward territories.

The End of Reconstruction

After the Civil War, the United States underwent a period called Reconstruction. This era aimed to rebuild and reunite the country after the devastation of the war.

However, Reconstruction came to an end in 1877 when President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew federal troops from southern states. This withdrawal marked the beginning of a new era in American history.

The Rise of Industrialization

The 1870s also brought about significant changes in American industry. The country experienced a boom in manufacturing and production, which led to increased employment opportunities for many Americans. Inventions such as the telephone and typewriter revolutionized communication, while transportation improvements like railroads enabled faster travel and trade.

Robber Barons

However, this growth was not without its problems. A few wealthy businessmen known as “Robber Barons” gained immense power during this period by controlling entire industries through monopolies. They exploited workers and used their wealth to influence politics for their own gain.

Westward Expansion

The 1870s also marked a time of westward expansion for America. The government passed laws such as the Homestead Act which encouraged settlers to move westward by offering free land to those who would farm it for at least five years. This expansion led to conflicts with Native Americans who had long inhabited these territories.

  • Indian Wars: The Indian Wars were a series of conflicts between Native Americans and U.S. government forces over land ownership.
  • Battle of Little Bighorn: In 1876, General Custer and his troops were defeated by Lakota and Cheyenne warriors in what became known as the Battle of Little Bighorn.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre: In 1890, the U. Army killed over 150 Sioux men, women, and children in what is now known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.


The 1870s was a decade of significant events in American history. The end of Reconstruction, the rise of industrialization, and westward expansion were just some of the pivotal moments that shaped the country’s future.

Despite progress being made during this time, it was also a period of hardship for many Americans. Nonetheless, these events helped to pave the way for America’s growth into a global superpower.