The Engine and its Effect on American Society

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The combustion engine, which was invented in the 1870s, has allowed American society to grow and change throughout the 20th century, as its mainstream consumer usage was not brought about until the early 1900s. It has allowed technology and industry to flourish and grow through expediting the process of how people and things travel from A to B. Inherently, a combustion engine converts fuel, which otherwise is a useless mass of smelly oil, to energy which can power anything under the sun, from cars, planes, and trains, to houses and farm equipment. 
Although the combustion engine was invented before 1900, significant improvements in its design, and significant improvements in the vehicles it was utilized in, truly impacted the 20th century tenfold over the 19th century. A combustion engine is fundamentally a piston that moves up and down inside of a cylinder, given air and fuel to combust and create rotational energy, spinning anything from a propeller to a couple of wheels. 
One of the most significant improvements of the 20th century was the assembly line, most recognizably used to build the Ford Model T. This contributed to the American economy in many ways. It brought the automobile, which was most commonly used by the wealthy, to the typical American consumer because the assembly line cut the price of manufacturing a vehicle down exponentially over a car that was not made on an assembly line. It helped Ford specifically by making it what it is today. Without the ingenuity of Henry Ford and those who helped him, the world may be in a different place now than it would be without the assembly line. Also, without the combustion engine, there may have been no assembly line at all in the first place. 
The engine has affected the way people get from place to place and how quickly they get from place to place. The engine has birthed the car, the plane, and the train. These quick and easy ways of transportation have created the society we live in today. Without these ways of transportation, there would not be flourishing cities and towns outside of a city center like New York. For example, Metuchen is a town where many of its residents commute to other major cities surrounding it like New York, Newark, Jersey City, and Philadelphia. Metuchen flourishes because of the wealth its citizens earned from jobs outside of Metuchen itself. If people didn’t commute from Metuchen or any other satellite town or suburb of New York, the town of Metuchen would not flourish as wonderfully as it does today with multiple restaurants shops and now recently large apartment complexes mostly composed of commuters. Another example of this would be how planes allow global commerce much faster than a world without planes. Conferences for any industry can be held anywhere across the globe with people from anywhere across the globe. 
The engine has also brought about infrastructure throughout the United States, connecting almost every single road in the country to one another. These roads allow people to travel thousands of miles wherever they please to go. Semi-trucks can carry goods across the country to almost every destination in the country. The building of these roads made millions of jobs available in the post great Depression Era under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 
The downside of the combustion engine is its environmental effect on the world. Engines are a leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions since a byproduct of combustion is carbon dioxide, among other negative byproducts that influence the global climate. Since the combustion engine has led in part to climate change and global warming, many organizations have been founded with the intent to encourage and enact legislation to combat the climate crisis, which has been a leading issue for around twenty years. The engine has, therefore, influenced the creation of the Green Party and the Environmental Protection Agency. Climate change itself has bred dozens of movies and documentaries, garnering more and more people to support greener energy sources and infrastructure plans based on green energy. So, the engine, although a positive thing, has its downsides on the environment while contributing to the creation of green movements and environmental organizations and government institutions. 
The engine has also bred a fascination with automobiles for millions of people around the country and around the world. Hundreds of Youtube channels bring entertainment and excitement to millions of viewers around the world, creating a tight-knit community of people coming together to support each other and entertain each other. People like those influence the entire automobile industry, affecting what automakers build and produce. Car communities around the world have been created because of the creation of the engine, and without the engine, there would be no F1 Racing, Nascar, Rally, Monster Truck events, or even street racing. Millions of people flock to these events every year, influencing the economy and creating entertainment. 
The engine is by far one of the most influential inventions on American society and history. It has changed how wars are fought, how people travel, and how the economy has improved. It has given millions of people entertainment, and let the everyday consumer travel quickly and relatively cheaply anywhere on the continent. It has affected politics and the government through the creation of the Green Party and the EPA. Although it has contributed to the climate change crisis, it has birthed cleaner energy movements across the world. 


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