America's Second Industrial Revolution

800 Words 4 Pages
America’s second industrial revolution had a big impact on everybody in the late 1900s. However, the biggest impact was shown on to the American industrial worker, the working class. New technological advancements cause companies to impose new injustices, labor unions form to fight back; unfortunately, the government does not act on these injustices towards the working class. The government at the time was not only corrupt, but also not ready or prepared for the problems they were about to be facing. The industrial boom starts in the 1870s when the advancement of iron and steel become apparent. Before the 1870s iron ruled the market, used mostly for railroads. However, after 1870 steel became the dominant metal of the market. The process …show more content…
The average American worker was making $400-$500 a year, to live in comfort they needed roughly $600. Even so, there was no job stability. The boom-and-bust cycle could cause employees to find their wages cut in hard times. Even with the instability the American worker was forced to work up to twelve hour shifts six days a week. In these hard times companies looked for a cheaper form of employment, women and children. Women were typically paid less than adult males; by 1900, they made up 20 of the manufacturing workers. Over 1.7 million children were employed in factories, through public pressure child labor laws were created in the late nineteenth century. The laws stated that children had to be over 12 and could only work a total of ten hour work days. However, in most cases companies ignored these laws. These injustices further called for the unity for a labor union. Many organizations formed to fight back from the conditions they were forced to work in. Such organizations like the Knights of Labor founded 1869, and the AFL demanded an eight hour work day, higher wages, and in some cases the abolition of child labor. They also had their hands in numerous strikes in an effort for reform: the railroad strike of 1877, the Haymarket bombing, the Homestead strike, and the Pullman strike. Despite the military like …show more content…
The government at the time had a very laissez-faire attitude towards companies due to economic expansion. The working class could not do anything about this because of the political “machine”. The boss of the organization had one goal, win votes for their organization. In doing so they might provide political relief, food, coal, and even patronage, giving political positions to their followers. The bosses went as far as using migrants for votes, they did anything they could to rack up votes. One of the most corrupt machine bosses was William M. Tweed, Politicians often loaded money into these machines in return they received word of where a new road would be built. The politicians would then buy land near it and sell when the price goes up. This further created a gap between the working class and the upper class. Many reform movements tried to go after them, often expressing public outrage. However, the machines stayed unopposed mainly due to the reform movements not lasting that long. This hurt the working class the most mainly due to the fact that they can not make reforms without help from the government; and the corruption of the government stops them from any changes. Throughout the second industrial revolution in America there are many advances. Some in technological advancements and some in social. However, at this point in time the corruption of the government officials and companies hurts

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