The industrial revolution helped shape the United States into a business booming economy where it was thought that anyone could be a millionaire. It was a time where the government stepped out of the way and let people make their own decisions and how to run their own businesses. While it was thought to be a good idea to let the people deal with it with no government, workers were made to work long days, with very little pay, and almost no hygienic benefit from the workplace. The business world was run by big companies and its rich CEO’s forcing the workers to work under their iron fists, with no laws protecting the workers such as the 40 hour work week or the safety measures we take today on machines that workers use.

With the growing economy of the U.S. raw materials and other goods were needed to supply the growth. Things such as steel, oil, lumber, and coal created ways for big businesses to harness the hidden wealth in all the materials. With businesses that have made so much money off the booming economy and the need for their product they have created a way for themselves to make rules. Such as the price for their product, the wage they pay their employees, and who they hire. During this time everyone needed work and couldn’t say no, the businesses seen this and took advantage. With many options the wages were dropped, but workers still took them because it was all they had. In order for things to change, a form of “job security” was formed called a Union.

To help workers with the harsh environment, unions were made to equalize the playing field. The unions helped create laws as to how long a worker could work in a week, how much they would be paid as an hourly wage, and how the workplace had to look in order to pass health and safety codes. The unions helped workers tremendously, but the companies looked at unions as a bigger cost to them. Where they needed to pay their workers more, pay to fix machines and factories, and that they couldn’t just make the rules and how to run the business they built.

One of the first unions to take place was the KOL to overcome employer hostility. In 1879 it became the world’s largest industrial union, which led to the national economy recovering with wages established and workers having a say in how they worked. In order to satisfy such a growing economy, compromises had to be made and in the end benefited the country as a whole creating one of the greatest known times in history, the industrial revolution.


Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a history of the United States.Boston,Prentice