Strength Through Steel

Working late and long hours, to only make a dollar a day. That was the average life of a worker during the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution as a result has helped and has changed many lives. The Industrial Revolution started around the 1800’s and has changed the perspective on how we look at things. The population grew from 31,450,000 to 76,212,000 a 142.3 % increase over the span of 40 year’s. (PG 474, Jennifer Kenne). Child labor rules were in desperate need of change for the better. This was due to the poor conditions and low wages that were viewed as acceptable during the time. When the 1900s came around things started to look better and as a whole began significant improvement.

The common work day was around 10 hours, which now has changed to eight because of regulations in the work place. When workers would work a 10-hour day they sought out many reasons why they should change it and here a few, workers would get hurt on the job due to lack of energy, they would also get sick because their immune systems would be weak due to the lack of sleep they had due to the hours they were putting in at work. Farmers would come home from working all day to then tend to the farm and then come home to warm meal provided by their wife.

The corporations would rely heavily on the new form of transportation being the railroad to transport goods across from point A to point B because it was faster and more efficient then to send it by boat. Andrew Carnegie was responsible for the transformation of the steel corporation that helped craft the idea of a railroad.  If the railroads could transport more they could then build new things like cars and buildings to withstand all elements and will help increase more revenue than ever before and has impacted our economy today. The reason this is more efficient then the boat method is because it gets their faster and is more affordable over time of 40 years. Andrew then sought out another way to transport people to different areas of their chosen destination, and would sell tickets to take people places and this was another reason it helps grow the economy today.

Around the 1890 an act was created and is now called Sherman Anti-Trust Act, it is to prevent trusts and trust funds. Now we were using children of all backgrounds and immigrants and paying them little amounts to do tedious work that risks their lives daily. The unions were created and came about to help stand up for the workers and the employers still to this day think of them as a threat. Blacklist were created as away if the employees were fired they would put them on list that no one would hire. The local press organizations would highlight and release all the things that were going on and more things would come to light and issues would become resolved because we would end up doing the new thing called “going on strike” they would do this to get better work conditions and or wages or many things that needed changed.


7 thoughts on “Strength Through Steel

  1. Excellent intro that hooked me right from the start! Your post made for an insightful detailed look at what was going on at this important and crucial time in our nations past. The railroad being another important part of all that was going on is very interesting to know as well. There most definitely are pros and cons when it comes to train vs boat delivery and I’m glad to know that both are still being utilized to thus very day.

  2. I liked the statistics you included in your introduction, it made me able to see the drastic rise in population, and how most of those people were in search of employment. Blacklists were also a terrible way to treat those who sympathized with the idea of unions. I agree that the long work days definitely resulted in workers being fatigued, and I think that the longer work days actually reduced productivity, and I wonder if the employers even thought about the rate at which the items in their company were produced.

  3. This was very insightful! It was amazing how different the times were. There was obviously a need for a strong union in the past. The work place was terrible, especially for the kids. Adults and kids alike needed a strong group to stand behind that they could trust, this was the unions. As industry grew and transportation became easier and cheaper you would think that these large corporations would in turn raise the salaries of their workers so they could afford the products they were producing. Something that Henry Ford himself was famous for! Unions were obviously needed during the industrial revolution, but have they possibly become too powerful today?

  4. It is very neat to see how different things were back then. It is true that unions were needed and how most workers today rely on unions to get what they need in the work place. Without unions, workers would not have gotten all of the things they wanted. I also found it neat to know that if Carnegie had not created/found steel, that we would not have railroads, builds, and cars. I like how one person can change the world for everyone.

  5. I found this very insightful and interesting. Its shocking to read about how drastically different the work day was for the average mad during this period of time. I find it shocking that it was a common accepted thing that children worked with little rules for safety and health. I also found it interesting that it wasn’t until then when the average work day was changed from ten hours to eight which sound like it benefited many workers, giving them more time for recovery from work, family, and even leasure. Overall, I thought this article included good information that is truly an eye opener.

  6. Something that makes me wonder about the employers during the Industrial Revolution is how they couldn’t see/prevent the unions from forming and strikes from occurring. America was born out of a revolution so you would think that the employers would’ve assumed the whole tyranny path wouldn’t last long. They end up losing more and having to deal with more problems then if they would have been more open and considerate to the workers. I’m glad this was all figured out long before I entered the work force!

  7. I found all of the information to be very interesting. The 1800’s was a very interesting time to be a worker. To think, men, women, and children were all working next to one another. I can’t imagine sending my child to work every day if I had children. I am shocked too that the employers did not see labor unions and strikes coming. They treated their employees like slaves. Myself, I am very happy today that the unions were created, because without them we would not have a minimum wage and definitely not have an eight hour work day.

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