In 1940s urban and suburban dwellers in United States of America were undergoing difficult times. This is because at this period, urbanization was rapidly taking shape, due to the movement of people from rural areas to the urban in search of good life. This was initiated by the development of the steam power in the cities, which were used in industries.
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Thus, people relocated from rural areas to the urban in search of jobs in these industries. The unprecedented movement of the people from the rural to urban surmounted a lot pressure on the limited urban natural resources. The result, thus, were the birth of problems that threatened to destroy US, during the America civil war.
The urban population thus landed in the hands of exploitative employers. The employers were the politicians and the wealthy members of the society. Given the difficult situation these people faced, they were left with no other option other than to complain in the local newspapers.
As seen with the Rochester mechanics, they are complaining about infringement of their rights by the employer. In this case the employer goes on to curtail their wages on basis of falling prices of the commodities consumed, in this case the flour. This act of the Rochester employer clearly demonstrate how the employers used to misuse the employees, it was not the employer will to see the employees welfare improves, but rather to deteriorate it.
The employers were also depicted by the employees as dictators. Though the employer claim the allegations made by the employee we not true, the employer on his defense goes on to contradict himself as he confirms the allegation, he also challenges the dissatisfied employees to seek employment elsewhere. This clearly demonstrate the environment which the poor in urban were exposed to, was that of Master and slave, where employees were supposed to take whatever the employer deemed fitted them.
Another problem the urban poor were undergoing and especially the employees, was lack of freedom of expression. This is because any form of direct confrontation with the employer could lead to loss of the job, given that they badly needed to keep their jobs so as to cope with difficult life in urban. Therefore, to keep their fight alive in demanding of their rights, they used the newspapers to deliver their message. However, this does not go well with the employer since he claims that mechanic S was jealous.
The life of poor in urban as demonstrated was in the hands of their employer. There was high risk of employees’ life due to the poor working environment since they were exposed to in the factories. As seen in the letter written by the daughter as a reply to the father, she stated that her health has been spared. This was because she had witnessed her fellow workers in the mill perish due to poor working conditions.
To cement this observation, there was a female worker who slipped on the icy floor, broke her neck causing immediate death; a guy was crushed to death by a car; another one was crushed to death by the cotton bale; also another one broke his ribs. All these fatal incidents happened in the same day, thus in these factories there was massive loss of life and permanent deformities among the workers.
In the factories, workers used to work for long hours, as seen in the case of Mary, at seven o’clock in the morning they were in the factories working, they had one hour break for lunch, they resumes work up to half past seven in the evening. In total these were 12 working hours, and due to lack of enough rest, these workers were exposed to poor concentration in the factories. Given the nature of the factories, heavy and dangerous machines there was high risks of life, and as demonstrated above many used to die every day.
Lack of proper training or no training at all in the factories was evident as we see Mary says that the training was supposed to run for six month; however, that was not the case as she was already working before undergoing the said training. This consequently contributed to the fatalities cases, since these people they were not well placed to work with the then sophisticated machines.
The workers used to get meager salaries, which could only afford them to pay for the boarding. Ironically the workers used to pay the rents to the same factories owners, since the houses were owned by the employer. To make the matter worse the boarding facilities were demeaning and lacked privacy. In the textile mill, Mary writes to her father telling him how they used to share the facilities with her female colleagues. The mill had total control over the employees since they were waking them up by means of ringing bells.
There was intensive migration of the people from rural to urban in search of good life. As seen, Mary wrote to her relatives urging them to move into urban so that they could secure jobs in the factories. These movements of people brought about inadequate and poor housing in urban thus giving rise to slums. During this time in America, the negative effects of industrialization were severe in urban, as the influx of people and exploitation of the poor was apex.