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The Fire That Changed America Essay

829 words - 4 pages

The Progressive era was a time where change was needed in order to eliminate social Darwinism and highlight the significance of social unity and camaraderie. Progressive movements became the response to the rising problems left by the 19th century: the evident unequal distribution of wealth and the expanding power of massive businesses. In the book Triangle: The Fire that changed America, David Von Drehle unveiled the greedy nature of corporate owners which repressed the democratic principles of the United States and its relation to the rise of social movements which shed light to many changes that occurred socially starting with the improved working conditions and in the beginning of the twentieth century.
Businesses and large corporations were essential to the economy of the United States but concealed their genuine intentions. Factory owners provided jobs and income to the household of not only the American people, but also immigrants. In addition, the government believed that corporate owners are crucial since they’re the backbone of productivity which stimulates the economy. On the contrary, David Von Drehle spilled the dirty work of industrial owners. Competition among businesses is known to be a healthy act but it was a hindrance for owners to become even richer. They generated the practice of monopoly, which occurs when a corporation owns all the market of given merchandise, by lowering the prices of commodities until their competitors close down. It was very common in the urban areas of New York state considering that “there were more than five hundred blouse factories [since] the waist industry was booming” (8). After a successful scheme of shutting down other businesses, monopoly owners began to increase prices and in response, their profit would increase and it would continue to rise because of the low wages with longer hours given to workers. Underneath the unblemished attire worn to work by the big bosses, their stained character continued to rot. They chose to be oblivious to the expenses of their factories and as a consequence, the facilities became unsafe and unsanitary. Derived from the book Triangle, there were hand written letters that were sent “to the city’s building department to report crowded and dangerous conditions in [companies, specifically] the Triangle Waist Company” (135), but it was evidently ignored. With cheap labor and no expenditure, the wealth of massive corporations dramatically escalated, developing an immense gap between the rich and poor. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer....

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