Industrialism and workers and unions, oh my!


The American industrial revolution was something that paved the way we think, act and work. Before this our time was focused on the war. Now that that’s done and over with what do we do? Work work work. The start of the revolution created many jobs and started a whole new way of life. There were new jobs, ideas, inventions and more. With all the new jobs came the unsafe work environments and Factories needed workers. Women were cheap labor so why not have them. Heck, kids were even cheaper and small so let’s see what dangerous factory job they would be good at. Employers ruled and workers were often treated poorly.

“ Between 1870 and 1900, the number of children younger than 16 working for wages– usually a fraction of those paid adults– skyrocketed from 700,000 to 1.7 million.” ( 486) That number is shocking considering all of those kids were under sixteen.


Industrialism ran the country. Workers often got the short end of the stick because of this. Not only was there unfair pay, hours, benefits etc. Employers had no liability for accidents that happened there. When workers first started moving to cities, builders could not make housing fast enough. Often times there was crowding and a lack of quality and durability to the working person house. When looking inside a factory the conditions were not well. Division of labor is when each worker has to perform one task over and over again. This took a toll on them not only physically but mentally as well. Workers often were not treated well but one thing that did give them some sort of hope was unions.  

Unions began to rise as a result of industrialism. Employers often saw them as a threat to running their business and their profits. In some cases spies were hired to find people who organized them. They would be put on a “blacklist” where they never got hired. On one hand you have employers not liking unions and employees needing them. Most workers were quick to jump in joining a union. Unions made sure “ big businesses” did not have too much power. They gave the workers a chance to make changes in their pay and work conditions.


All that being said there was many things that came from the industrial revolution that has shaped The United States. For example, there were many great inventions that came about, the ferris wheel is one. George ferris was a engineer who invented the wheel for the 400th anniversary of christopher columbus discovering america. It was showed in the 1893 chicago world’s fair. That’s just one example of the many great things that came from the American revolution.




Alchin, Linda. “1893 Chicago World’s Fair.” American Historama: United States History for Kids ***, Siteseen Limited, 9 Jan. 2018,


Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a History of the United States. Pearson, 2015.   


Nardo, Don. The Industrial Revolution in the United States. Lucent Books, 2009.


6 thoughts on “Industrialism and workers and unions, oh my!

  1. Hi Taylor. What did you mean by “Unions made sure big businesses did not have too much power?”
    Unions lobbied for things like shorter hours, better pay, etc. and organized strikes when they felt it was needed, but they didn’t really change big businesses too much at first. This is due to judges often siding with employers and labor union members getting fired and blacklisted. Although unions made an effort towards changing big businesses, it didn’t happen for a long time and it was very gradual.

    1. To add to your comment, another reason why they didn’t really get anywhere during that time period was because Big Businesses were fighting the unions anyways they could which included in front of a judge, like you already mentioned. And a reason why the judges always went with Big business was because that was the way things had always been, and people like Carnegie and Rockefeller had all of the money which swayed opinions.

  2. Thank you for writing a very interesting post, Taylor! It is fascinating looking back at how the Industrial Revolution shaped our nation and economically made us stronger. Do you think that in the present we still struggle with some employment aspects as they did in the late 1800’s? Considering things such as minimum wage, unequal pay, worker discrimination, etc. Can’t wait to hear back from you!

    Shannon Johnson

  3. Hi Taylor!
    Hey your blog about the workmanship of the time was interesting, due to the reasons behind why the nation grew and developed into the machine that it is today. If I have to make a point though, I’d say that the blog itself looks as though you typed it at midnight before it was due and it was crudely written. I hate to bash on your work, but when it comes down to it, it just seemed like you cared as much about this piece, as did the employers of the child laborers. It just seemed a bit sloppy to me, but anyways still a good informative post.

  4. Hey Taylor. Crazy to think how much has changed since late 1800’s. I always find it wild how many young kids actually had to work in those conditions. It’s also interesting to look back at how much power big business had at this time too, and how much that has changed. However, as you said in your post, good did come from the industrial revolution as well. Not only were new inventions being created, but the economy of the United States grew immensely during this time.

  5. This was great post! Very informative.
    One thing I’ve noticed as I have read up on these topics, our economy and what the government sees as important hasn’t changed much from the industrial revolution. If you think about it, they were very focused on the executives and owners of big businesses and their well beings. It isn’t any different today. We operate in a ‘trickle down economy’ which means they will make the rich even richer in an effort to promote business. When they do that, they might think money will trickle down to the middle and even lower class, but that is warped because people are greedy. That’s what drove the kind of behavior in the industrial revolution. The desire to be rich.
    It did help the American economy boom, but in the expense of many of her people.

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