Industrialism: Safe & Unsafe

gilded age

Industrialism brought many changes for Americans. The era in which industrialism came to the forefront ushered in new and exciting opportunities. Of course with new opportunities comes new risks. The affect of this new and rapidly expanding industrialism was beneficial and at the same time very demanding. In the beginning all seemed well, but with the passage of time came obstacles that were not foreseen.

Workshifts became long grueling battles with high hours and low pay. Along with unfair wages, there were child laborers. Children in the workforce was the blatant evidence of how unchecked the industrialization process was turning out. There were few if any restrictions on child labor. They were allowed to work long hours resembling those of the adults with the same amount of responsibility, a considerably lower wage and sometimes no wages at all.

In its unchecked state, the industrialization was turning conditions for domestic life to the negative.  Women were not exempt from the unfair conditions that the working class were all collectively exposed to at the time. With promised incentives of the Homestead Act; cheap land available for purchase, and free land for any settler who would remain there for five years, there was a booming population increase, due to the largest migration of people in the United States.

Employers were free to pay out wages at their desire as there were no minimum wage laws in effect. Employees did not have it as good as their bosses when it came to protection, because the courts and legislatures did not have to listen to or side with the employees. This was very dangerous for the workers as there were no safety regulations or any restrictions keeping them from harms way. It was at this time that employees began forming unions to give them a voice, and a way to protest for shorter hours and better pay.

As unions started to develop, employers considered them dangerous. Unions brought change, along with improved working conditions. All of this change meant that unions had power, and that was danger in the eyes of employers because it lowered their profits. Unions were also able to have employers held responsible for deaths and injuries. All of these changes made it better for the working class workforce, and while many benefited, there were also many who suffered.



8 thoughts on “Industrialism: Safe & Unsafe

  1. I agree completely with the fact that no safety regulations could be harmful to the workers. I think that having some safety regulations would cost the employer money, but I also think it would be very beneficial. It’s astonishing how little employees were respected. Like you stated, they had dangerous jobs with little pay, and they could be fired at any time if they spoke up about an injury they had sustained. Employers were trying to find ways to make the most money, but if a worker was severely injured and he or his coworkers were eventually said to be at fault, I can’t believe that some workers didn’t seek employment elsewhere.

  2. The Industrial Revolution is always crazy to think about to me. Like you said, it was beneficial yet very demanding. The lack of regulation and just the lack of thought towards the employees and their families is mind blowing. I would think the employers had to know that the unfairness couldn’t continue forever but at the same time even when there were unions starting to form they remained steady with treating employees poorly and threatened anyone who supported or was affiliated with a union.

    1. Agreed! It is most definitely a tough idea to wrap ones head around. I’m very glad that we are all able to have the information and facts from this era in our American history and now i want to know about more historic events and other happenings of Interest. I’m sure we will learn more exciting and controversial ideas and topics, and am ready for the journey that lies ahead of us all.

  3. I found that you hit all the right points in showing the struggles of a working class citizen. Employers showed no mercy when dealing with their employees. Industrialization was all about who could make the most money and who could do it the fastest. Workers were pawns and each employer was the king of the board. There was competition between other companies and that kept the wheels turning but it was at the expense of the workers. Employers tended to treat workers like spare parts that could be tinkered with and replaced whenever seen fit.

  4. Many people today have a vision in their mind of what a child would be doing during the industrial revolution to what they were actually doing and their assumption would not be correct. Most people would think that children during that time would be doing chores around the house but also would have time to play, when really they were at work slaving away to help their parents pay for the essentials to survive. Today when we look at children they have so much freedom like not having to go to work, they get to go to school, and have fun with friends. This is all due to the fact that men, women and children all had to go through a time of suffering to create what we have today.

    1. I find it interesting how you started in on your comment. I know now that the idea in my head was limited and vague. Now that we have went over and through the chapter dealing with the Industrial revolution I have a complete background to round out my previous knowledge and the developed an all around more encompassed idea of how times were back then. The way you ended your comment leaves me to agree with you whole-heartedly and am thankful for what was endured to arrive where we now are today.

  5. I like how you explained the conditions of the work environment during the industrial revolution. The idea of not having safety regulations is almost unimaginable in this day in age. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a child worker during this time frame, how scary it must have been and how unsafe they must have felt, I find it extremely interesting at the same time, maybe to them this was normal and they didn’t know any better. To be a child and have so much expected of you and so much riding on your shoulders is a crazy idea to me. Can you imagine if the safety regulations or child labor were in the work place and were over looked now a days?

  6. I agree with all of these points, especially with children in the workforce. It was completely unfair and an exploit to basically get charity work done for employer’s businesses.

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