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The Industrial Revolution in the American History Essay

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Updated: Jun 1st, 2018

The current civilization bears a close connection with the industrial revolution. Both the revolution and the emergence of urban society happened simultaneously soon after the first World War.

People welcomed it highly, as it provided them with scrupulous means of transport and communication creating more job opportunities and cities such as commercial, administrative and industrial sites and above all, the invention of machines that they had not witnessed. In America, it resulted to rapid growth, which has not happened of late (Robert et al, 2011, p. 444).

However, as appealing as it might sound, it brought forth horrible problems to humanity in terms of effect of urbanization, child labor, poor working conditions, riots and strikes, long working hours as well as increased number of unskilled workers.

Although the Americans had invented machines, the labor of men, women and children still formed new industrial society. They were working ten hours a day and six days a week with little vacations (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 459).

As a result, their health deteriorated as the Americans regarded them as machines. In addition, working conditions were worst, with many accidents, and low-safety standards. For in stance, on the railroad several workers suffered injuries with many others dying every year.

The workers also suffered from several chronic diseases due to dust, chemical and air pollution (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 459). Moreover, since workers moved to stay close to the factories, there was an evident overcrowding in the house: a case that worsened the situation.

Less fortunate families thus forced young girls for early marriages while boys had their roles in the industries. Since industrialization led to much discrimination within the American society, boys received a bit higher payment, as compared to girls. Majority of the working girls remained single because of the nature of work they were doing.

Moreover, there was discrimination of women as most of them were secretaries, while remarkably few were lawyers to the level of some schools refusing to admit girls who aspire to become lawyers because they had no ability to study law (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 450). Furthermore, those employed in the industries had to occupy majorly household jobs.

Ethical, religious and racial discrimination skewed earnings with natives, adults, and Protestants earning more than their counterparts did.

Such hatred also affected the Chinese and Japanese. For instance, the congress in 1888 passed the Chinese exclusion act prohibiting the immigration of Chinese workers for a period of ten years, as they stood out as perfect workers whom the country could not afford to discard. The resulting effect of the discrimination was the weakening of labor laws and unions.

Industrialization led to rampant corruption in the railway sector. Since Federal government had granted vast acres of land for the expansion of railway, the companies’ directors were using the land, set aside for security, for bonds and loans (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 459).

It thus prompted waste and corruption, as companies were eager to collect subsidies to maximize their profits. They bribed congressional representatives and the legislatures to avoid investigating their activities. In addition, the grant enabled the building of railroads in the Indians’ territory leading to the destruction of their lives (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 446).

Based on the evident compromise on the workers’ unions, William Sylvis took the initiative to stabilize the trade unions gradually by integrating several trade unions together. He advocated and sought for long-term humanitarian reforms such as the establishment of workers’ corporations.

Such corporations, otherwise known as knights of labor, aimed at making each member his or her employer. The membership grew steadily though ineffective leadership watered it. However, the American federation of labor (AFL) emerged (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 461) uniting both the skilled and the unskilled workers. Even though, most unions formed did not accommodate women, AFL did not oppose women membership.

Through the established trade union, workers realized the need to stand alone to cater for their needs. They also realized how their children had a right not to suffer from any discrimination whatsoever. As a result, the workers formed their institutions to deal with their jobs. They joined to help each other.

The union offered companionship, news of job openings and insurance plans for sickness and accidents. They organized a formidable riot, which led to a great number of violent confrontations in America as a means of relieving themselves from the horrible conditions of work.

In 1870, there was an abundant labor due to industrialization in America. This resulted into a mass exodus of immigrants from Europe who were primarily seeking for opportunities in the American mines and industries (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 444). Even though, the European immigrants were seeking to work in the mines, they later established their business to compete with the Native Americans.

In addition, there were Jews immigrants that migrated to America due to the availability of several openings, which they wanted to grasp (Robert, et al. 2011, p. 459). The immigration process occurred rapidly that, by 1990, the total number of immigrants had reached seventy sixty million.


Robert, D., et al. (2011). The Industrial Society. America Past and Present, 2(1), 442-465.

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