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The Second Industrial Revolution Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

America’s Gilded Age, roughly between 1877 and 1890, was a time of expansion. Apart of the Gilded Age was the Second Industrial Revolution, and during this time America endured “one of the most rapid and profound economic revolutions any country has ever experienced” (Foner, 2012, pp. 586). Many people were affected during this time especially the working class, but the Industrial Revolution brought so many technologies and innovations which propelled a transition to a new economy (Atkeson and Kehoe, 2001, pp. 2).
Economic growth was dispensed very unevenly. Eighty percent of the population was the working class and only for a minority of these workers there were new found freedoms (Foner, 2012, pp. 594). Technical skill was now a factor instead of who owned what (Foner, 2012, pp. 594). For the rest of the working class, their economic situations remained a constant burden on their shoulders. Working sixty hour weeks, industrial workers had no pensions, no compensation for any injuries that occurred, and the possibility at any time that they could become unemployed (Foner, 2012, pp. 595). Having new machinery, and new inventions being incorporated into everyday life, workers whose talent could not compete with these were losing their jobs such as hand weavers (Effects of The Industrial Revolution). The conditions that these laborers were working in were tough with very hazardous situations. For example, “the process of purifying iron…demanded that workers toiled amidst temperatures as high as 130 degrees in the coolest part of the ironworks” (Effects of The Industrial Revolution qtd. Rosen 155). Not having any compensation for any injuries and these hazardous situations was tragic. While a minority of the working class had freedom to be left alone, a lot of the workers had a whole new change of pace. Being so used to the country life, workers had to get used to not leaving the machinery, or not seeing their families in the middle of a shift (Effects of The Industrial Revolution).
The working conditions were bad for many of the people during this time, but so were the living conditions. Not only did they endure a huge transformation inside their jobs, but also outside of it. Spending so much time at work, people came home with a little to no energy. Working so many hours put a damper on the “transitional sense of a village community” (Effects of The Industrial Revolution). For the poor, living conditions were by far the worst during the Industrial Revolution. They created poorhouses, but the conditions were so bad because they did not want people to just rely on government aid. Families were separated and were restricted to just working every day. Journalist Jacob Riis (1890) wrote a book called How The Other Half Lives, and in his “bald facts” he talks about how there are three effective ways that tenements in New York could be improved. One effective way is by creating laws that would regulate how poorly these tenements could be. The last...

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