Industrialism had a long-lasting effect on workers in the big picture of life from then to now. The Laissez-Faire philosophy enabled the spirit of individual uplift to become a reality for hardworking, risk taking, self-made Americans (Keene, et al, 485). The philosophy’s main objective was to create less government control in businesses. It was thought that the less government was involved in businesses, the better businesses would be. Regardless of race, gender, educational level, or poverty, everyone had a chance to take risks and deal with those consequences. People were given that opportunity without the unconstitutional and immoral interference from the government which would gather handouts from the hardworking and risk-takers, and redistribute them to people who never risked anything. Many of the self-made Americans created employment and put food on the table for many people. Advances in transportation, steel, oil, and technology continue to make our daily lives better still today. Industrialism expanded America’s economy worldwide and has been essential in making America great and the superpower it is today. Some settling had to occur for us as a nation to be where we are today, such as, The Great Upheaval of 1886, creation of annual Labor Day Holiday, and implementation of government regulation. Employers found Unions objectionable because they were powerless against the immoral and impractical government regulations they would impose. The Knights of Labor advocated for such radical, Utopian goals for working conditions. The knights of Labor also tried to replace competitive industrialism with an economy based on cooperation (Keene, et al, 494). From a business stand point, this compromised profit. Unions were also very dangerous to employers, because of physical altercations during strikes and fear on the Homefront from “Molly Maguires”. The “Molly Maquires” were mostly Irish immigrants who had a tradition of secret society that carried out acts of intimidation against workers, acts of vandalism, and other acts of violence (Keene, et al, 487). The benefits workers saw in unions were higher wages, eight-hour days, and safe working environments. In my opinion, many workers should have thought of the consequences of their movement and the effects it would have on the Self-Made American business owner who cut their checks and put a shirt on their back. We all need to be grateful for the dreamers and believers who have made things happen.
At one time in this country, unions existed to implement worker safety laws, decrease child labor and slavery, along with doing away with dangerous working conditions. Unions, at one time, leveled the playfield for all workers. Today, unions have changed as the laws have changed. Because of the changes, union memberships have shrunk, resulting in the democratic party rewriting labor laws in their favor. While there is a great history behind the formation of unions, today, unions are not as effective as they once were. Everything is connected, all is relevant, and everything comes back around one way or another.
- Keene, Jennifer D, et al. Visons Of America: A History of the United States. 3rd ed., vol. 1, Boston, Pearson, 2015.