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The Rise Of Big Business Between 1870 And 1920 Was Accompanied By Increasing Social Conflict.

1479 words - 6 pages

"The last half of the nineteenth century marked a major transition from old to new management methods" . The era from 1870 to 1890 has been referred to by historians as 'the gilded age'. During this period there was an explosion in economic growth, "between 1870 and 1920, almost eleven million Americans moved from farm to city and another twenty-five million came from overseas" . They came with hope for an opportunity of employment in factories and industries. The country was ravishing in natural resources. It also had an ever growing supply of labour with an expanding market for manufactured goods. "The rapid expansion of factory production, mining and railroad construction in all parts of the country except the south signalled the transition from Lincolns America to a mature industrial society". There was also much improvement made in the areas of technology during this era. In 1876, Alexander Graham bell patented the telephone and also the typewriter and handheld camera came into use. This helped to spur rapid communication and economic growth throughout the country. In 1879, Thomas A. Edison developed a practical incandescent lamp. There was a lot of competition among businesses and to avoid this, many corporations battled to control entire industries. This caused many companies to fall into the background or otherwise succumb to the powers of others. "The rise of large corporations threatened the already existing business order".The expansion of railroads allowed many areas a chance to participate in commercial farming. This development also helped to create a national market for manufactured goods. "By the year 1880 the majority of the workforce engaged in non farming jobs…. And the records in 1890 show that two thirds of Americans worked for wages rather than owning a farm, business or craft shop." People from all over seemed to be drawn to the work being offered from factories. Workers in this gilded age were dissatisfied with the social conditions they faced. People feared that the country was sinking into a new type of slavery. Alarmed at this thought, plans for a rapid change were offered up by social thinkers.The Country was flocked with immigrants in search of employment and a bright new life in America. Working conditions weren't glamorous and many workers could only find their voice through strikes and riots. The 1880's introduced a new type of labour organising. Included in this was the Knights of Labour. "The knights fell into politics in 1886-87 and then abdicate fully in 1890-94" . It was the first union to attempt to unionize women on a national scale. "They were the first group to organise unskilled workers as well as skilled, women alongside men and the blacks as well as whites" . This group involved millions of workers in strikes and boycotts including the general strike for the eight-hour day in May 1886. They also appeared in many newspapers in various languages. Terrance Powderly became the union's leader in 1881...

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