Poor Vs Poor

1569 Words 7 Pages
The early nineteenth century was a time period of change for the United States. A wave of religious revival was stirring throughout the country and America was becoming a more industrialized nation. Major manufacturing companies, owned by a small portion of the American population, monopolized the production of goods and controlled the majority of the economy. Factory employees reported to work earning wages that could barely sustain themselves or their families. Many workers relied on the government and religious charities to provide relief. The increase of religious influence on American society and the capitalist environment of the nation caused the poor and the non-poor to have fundamentally different conceptions on the causes of poverty. …show more content…
This was a concern for the non-poor people of society because they feared that public and private relief systems were being exploited by the poor and further increased the spread of poverty. The poor’s growing dependence on relief organizations lead people of the upper class to believe that these systems “encouraged idleness and beggary,” all at the expense of benevolent organizations and the taxpayer’s money. To combat this issue, almshouses were built in a prison-like fashion to discourage the poor from “living at the public’s expense.” Although these relief systems were established under philanthropic intent, people of the upper class feared that poor people’s dependence on these institutions were based on their unwillingness to work rather that their incapacity to work, and would contributed to the overall expansion of …show more content…
Because of the lack of regulations in the capitalist economy of the United States, entrepreneurs monopolized the manufacturing and production of consumer goods. Within the factories, men, women, and children were exposed to dangerous working conditions only to be rewarded with wages that “are barely sufficient to supply [them] with the necessaries of life.” The founders of these factories controlled the wages of the workers and the hiring and termination of employees were at the complete discretion of the employers. The poor had such little control of the source of income that they rely so heavily upon. The “Petition of New Jersey Working Widows to the U.S. Senate” is a prime example of dependence of the working class on manufacturing companies. During the 1810s, textile villages stopped production because of the availability of cheap, English imports. This caused millions of families to lose their jobs and their source of income. This document exemplifies how the economy of manufacturing businesses gravely affects the lives of its workers and how quickly these businesses can plunge families into

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