Industrial Revolution: The Struggle was Real

During the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, many workers were facing hardships. Employers ruled the working industry by making their own rules, and harsh working conditions. Because of the industrialism, which the era of raw materials, cheap labor, and new technology (Ch. 16 PowerPoint), many American families faced hard times.

Employees experienced extremely low wages, very unsafe working conditions, and no where to go to improve. These low wages caused lack of income in American homes, which then led to child labor (473). When the parents in the household couldn’t provide for the family because of their low wages, children would then begin working in factories also. The unsafe working conditions led to many injuries in the work environment and in some cases, death. The employers did not care about their employees and the poor conditions that they supported. They just were focused on maximizing their profit (473).

Employees wanted to do something about the harsh working conditions that they were facing. Many workers formed a union to try to demand better working conditions and higher wages. Employers did not appreciate the unions that were formed. They found them objectionable because they disagreed with their employees arguments. Employers did not want to pay their workers higher wages because the cost of production was high, so they wanted to only give them minimal wages so that they could still earn a profit (475). Employers also found unions dangerous in nature, and to their company. Unions were considered dangerous because they often lead to strikes which they had to send soldiers in to clear out (474). Employers saw unions as dangerous to their company because when their employees would go on strike, they refused to work. When employees refused to work, production decreased which caused consumers to have to buy that product from another company (475). This resulted in a decrease of sales for the company.

Employees wanted to join the unions because they saw many benefits in them. They were formed because workers thought that if they formed a large group, they could have a spokesperson who got through to the business owner (474). By forming this group, workers hoped that they would reach higher wages. They saw benefits such as higher wages, safer working conditions, and respect throughout the workplace (478).


7 thoughts on “Industrial Revolution: The Struggle was Real

  1. Wonderful blog, Noelle! Could you imagine working for an employer who doesn’t care about the employees working conditions, or care if you were to get hurt, let alone die from the unsafe environment at work? I cannot even being to imagine how horrible it must have been. The business owners must have felt so powerful even when it meant being powerful over the working class who could not control their circumstance’s. The business owners cared solely about themselves and their business profits. Unfortunately, it’s no where near as bad but, I feel as if that is something we are still having to deal with in today’s society.

    1. I agree this is a good blog! Looking at this kind of made me think about how pulling those long hour shifts. How tired I would and don’t forget hungry. Also how they said a lot of people had die well work because they fell asleep. I’m glad that we are not living in these conditions to day. I don’t know what I would do if I had to have a child a twelve years old work next to me and them not be in school learning.

    2. I agree, the blog is great. I can’t imagine being a worker during this time in America, having essentially no safety measures in the workplace, long working days, and no voice in society. Your employer had the money to buy whatever rules he wanted and left you with no control of your situation. Profit still likely is a primary concern of companies, but conditions, thankfully, are much much better.

    3. I agree, I could not imagine working for a company under those harsh conditions! Employers wanted to make the most amount of money while spending only the least amount they could get by with. This meant cheaper machinery that was prone to fires which most definitely created unsafe working conditions. Often times, employees had to spend their meal break (if they got one), cleaning the factories machines. Employees would be working 12-16 hour days for such a cheap wage, which they had no control of. Businesses simply did not care for their employees.

  2. I could only imagine having to deal with an employer who gave little to no care of the well-being of its workforce. Because employers looked at the workforce as expendable or replaceable work morale in any of those environments would have been at an all time low. Thee employer just assumed if the current employee didn’t like the situation that he would just snag the next guy in line waiting for a job. It is a shame that there are still many third world countries that behave and operate in this same manner.

  3. While many of us complain about our jobs on a day to day basis, we have so much to be thankful for. The thought of having to fight every single day just to make enough money to support the basic needs of your family is a very scary thing. Child labor was a very serious situation, that I am sure ripped out the hearts of parents during this time. No parent would want to send their child into working conditions that they were not even comfortable working in, yet many had no other choice. The Industrial Revolution truly was a trying time for suffering people, but due to their stance we have so much to be thankful for in our present work environments.

  4. If working conditions had not improved, our factories today would be a deathtrap. With all our technology that is produced daily there would be a lot more deaths than back then, especially when one factory can produce thousands if not tens of thousand of components in one day, all the moving parts and hazardous chemicals that are used in the process of making these components could easily be a injury hazard and lead to death, especially if there were children working in them who didn’t know the dangers of the chemicals or look out for the moving parts.

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