The Industrial Revolution: Change For The Better?

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Change for the Better? When people think of the industrialization the hoi polloi would usually think of how much it helped Americans towards the future. Well they would not be in the wrong for thinking that, but the industrial revolution was not the bright age of progression most people think it to be. It was also a dark time for the general populous of America. Between 1830 and 1900, the United States population grew by 595%. With the sudden population growth, cities became overcrowded and people lived in unsanitary tenements. Workers in factories and mines had dangerous jobs for long hours and a low wage. The rush of immigrants faced discrimination as nativism rose during this time period. Rapid industrialization caused more detriments to …show more content…
As a result, many employers took advantage of the immigrants by paying them low wages when they were desperate to work. The labor force consisted of “unskilled workers, who only received about 8 to 10 dollars a week” (Poddar ‘13). These uneducated workers received about 10 cents per hour and did not know that they were being cheated, however, they had no choice but to work for the low wages because that was all that was being offered. Child labor existed almost all throughout history, but industrialization brought it to new extremes. Children made up almost half of the workforce “In southern cotton mills, 25 percent of the employees were below the age of fifteen, with half of these children below age twelve.” (Yellowitz ‘09). Many children were employed because they could fit into small places and were agile. There were no safety precautions, and as a result there was a large increase in child fatalities and injuries .However, labor unions started to form because workers finally decided to fight the unjust ways they were treated. Many demanded more pay and to be treated fairly, but “as more immigrants came to the US, more workers became available ... willing to work, even if others were not” (Poddar ‘13). This lessened the impact of all the organized strikes and protests making it hard to get a result from employers. Because of all of these positions being filled by immigrants there were even …show more content…
“Old immigrants” who were Northern and Western Europeans who immigrated to America before the 1860s, felt economically, politically, and socially threatened by the new immigrants and wanted to protect what they felt was theirs. After a severe recession and many industrial strikes, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) which “[restricted] the immigration of Chinese into the United States to only a few individuals a year” (Newman ‘00). American society did not have equal opportunities for Chinese immigrants. The economic threat felt by the old immigrants was used to justify the exclusionary legislation passed to favor the old immigrants and allow them to succeed in industry while restricting Chinese immigrants. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, “anti-Semitism increased markedly when millions of Jews from eastern Europe immigrated to the United States”(Newman ‘00). The stereotype that Jews are greedy grew during this time because of the economic threat the predominantly Protestant population felt. Anti-semitism and anti-Catholicism grew during industrialization and many Jewish Americans faced discrimination. Groups like the Chinese Americans and the Jewish were used as a scapegoat for problems in the nation at the time. Of the new immigrants, “very few newcomers spoke any English, and large numbers were illiterate in their native tongues” (The

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