The Industrial Revolution. It was the start of a whole new experience for the both workers and businesses. The companies were bringing in lots of money with the discovery of coal, iron, lead, copper, etc. in various states. New technology that used those materials to produce their products faster and railroads that allowed them to spread their goods further than they thought before. Then there were the workers, they got almost nothing during this time. They were treated poorly, even worse than before. In fact, they faced many challenges during this time.
First the workers had to work in dangerous conditions with no safety regulations. They had to put in long hours of work, for almost every day of the week and got little pay or even no pay in return. Then, the businesses brought in new technology that they could use to replace some of the skilled workers with cheaper, unskilled workers (Visions of America, 485). This made meant the low paid workers and their families all had to work to earn enough money to live. This new technology created another problem, a constant repeat in the same task along with the long hours, caused the workers to become tired and unfocused on their task, which resulted in injuries and even deaths. According to Visions of America, between 1880 and 1900, 35,000 workers were killed and 500,000 were injured (Visions of America, 486).
Workers created unions to help them gain better working conditions, which employers hated. Vision of America states “Most employers saw unions as threats to their profits and freedom to run their businesses as they wanted. (Visions of America, 487).” Employers attempted to get rid workers whom participated in the unions by sending spies into their factors and firing anyone who they discovered was a part of a union, then blacklisted them so it was almost impossible for them to get another job (Visions of America, 487).
Unions, to the workers, was a positive thing. This allowed workers to join together to try and fight their employers to get good working conditions. It also helped them get a more reasonable pay for them to live off. To achieve this, they organized strikes and refused to work. Most of these strikes didn’t end well. “Employers routinely hired replacements and enjoyed the support of local officials…to drive away or arrest pickets gathered outside a workplace (Visions of America, 487).
Overall, the Industrial Revolution was great for the businesses but it was one tough time for the workers. They got poorly treated and risked their lives daily, just to barely make enough money to feed and care for their family. When they try to fight it, the employers did everything in their power to stop it and even ruin some people’s lives by replacing them. This Revolution had a mostly negative impact on the workers and many obstacles they had to fight their way through.
Keene, Jennifer D., et al. “Chapter 16: Wonder and Woe.” Visions of America: A History of the United States, Pearson, 2015.