Industrial Revolution 3 Essay

869 words - 3 pages

The second industrial revolution started in the late nineteenth century and continued through the 1930's. The revolution provided great opportunities as well as troubling times. The United States citizens struggled to gain control over their lives in an industrialized economy. Moreover, the second industrial revolution changed the lives and attitudes of the working class.The American working class benefited and also fell victim of the rise of industrial capitalism. Most of the workers even experienced a rise in the standard of living. At the same time they experienced harsh and dangerous working conditions. The workers felt powerless. In the late nineteenth century, the demand for factory labor grew and so did the industrial work force. Immigration was the source of expansion. The new immigrants were coming to America to get away from poverty and oppression in their homelands. With the coming of these new groups of immigrants came constant ethnic tensions. They were also paid very poorly and began to replace higher paid British. Irish, and American workers.American workers had very little job security. Many of the workers lost their jobs because of technological advances. Very few workers were ever very far from poverty. The American workforce faced many other hardships as well. The performances of routine and repetitive tasks were difficult for the workers to adjust to. Machines now did many tasks once done by artisans. Factories employed workers ten hours a day and six days a week. Factory accidents were very frequent and commonly deadly.Many employers felt the need to increase the use of women and children in the workforce. They could hire the women and children for lower wages than adult males. Women worked in almost all areas of industry. They worked for wages far less than necessary for survival. An astonishing number of young children under sixteen years of age worked in factories and fields. Eventually, laws were set for an age minimum of twelve years.Unionization was beginning to become a very popular way for the workers to fight back. Since before the Civil War there had been small unions representing skilled workers. However, individual unions could not get the job done on a national scale. The first effort to create a national union was the "Knights of Labor". The membership was open to all workers and especially all women. The union was very poorly organized. The failure of railroad strikes made the union look bad and it eventually vanished. The second effort was the Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. Later, it took the name of the American Federation of...

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