Industrialism Affecting us Today


After the civil war, industrialism started growing in America. Taking place in the late 1800’s, an increase in production due to the creation of machines led to industrialization. Oil, steel, and the railroads played a significant part in creating this revolution. Innovators were inventing machines that could do work much more efficiently, faster, and in more quantities than compared to people making their own materials.

This began the switch from Americans completely farming their resources to buying factory made items. The increasing number of factories led to a massive need for workers. Factory employees worked long grueling hours for little pay around dangerous machines in which they had no prior training on how to properly use them. Factory owners became very wealthy, but eventually workers fought back creating unions and demanding congress limit these powerful greedy employers.

Usually the government was always in favor of employers, leaving employees essentially without any rights. The continuing demands and stress that factory jobs placed on its workers led to the creation of the Labor Movement. After a great deal of fighting for employee rights, they were able to force congress to create policies concerning fair wages, health benefits, and child labor restrictions.

Industrialism is still affecting us today. Employees are continuing to demand higher minimum wage and better benefits. Twenty five years ago, Michigan minimum wage was $3.35 and now its more than double sitting at $9.25! It’s crazy to see how industrialism and inflation are effecting our wages in the present and as we go into the future. Currently a movement called “Fight for $15” has become widespread in the United States. Employee unions within this movement are protesting for minimum wage to be risen to $15 as well as fighting for better benefits and healthcare across all job industries.

Kazin, Matthew. “Fast Food Workers Set to Protest in Push for $15 Minimum Wage.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 11 Feb. 2018, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/11/fast-food-workers-set-to-protest-in-push-for-15-minimum-wage.html.

Keene, Jennifer D., Visions of America: A History of the United States, Vol 2, 3e, Pearson, 2017.

United States Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division (WHD). United States Department of Labor, http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/stateMinWageHis.htm.

 

13 thoughts on “Industrialism Affecting us Today

  1. By connecting the struggles of workers during the Industrial Revolution to the continuing struggles of many workers today, it is easy to see how far we’ve come. Although workers have a lot of rights today, we as a nation are still struggling to meet the needs of the working class. Inflation has caused the prices of many goods to increase drastically, yet wages have not increased at an equal pace. Employees have many rights today, yet we are still fighting against the large corporation owners who are making an insane profit off of workers who make minimum wage.

    1. I completely agree. There are even many instances in today’s world where workers are not receiving the benefits they should be. I had recently read an article on a strike happening in Chicago in which hotel workers are protesting for better benefits.

      1. Until august of this year, right before school started, I worked for a beverage distributor for nearly ten years. Maybe 5 years ago or some of the workers for my company in a different division started making a push for becoming Unionized due to the same things you’re talking about in this post. They felt as if they were not being compensated enough for what the company was making off of their labor. At one branch I worked at, small is it may be, the company strong armed them into not unionizing but this threat resulted in somewhat of a better wage and benefit package. 3 years ago I was transferred into a branch that was already unionized and those workers under the union were actually not compensated as well as the folks at the first branch. What this shows me is that the multi-billion company fought back much harder against the union workers, hiring big time lawers to fight for them, and worked hand in hand with the non union workers. I always thought that to be an interesting construct.

      2. It’s sad to think that people still have to fight as hard as they do just to get the benefits they need to live a comfortable life. If unions hadn’t started when they did I can only imagine the shape workers would be in today. Many corporations are willing to put their employees at risk to gain a better profit which can be devastating to see.

  2. My favorite part of your blog is how you made old issues relate to a very relevant Michigan platform in the legislature and possibly on the ballot in November! I am curious as to how you think our state specifically would be different if the legislature responded differently and worked in favor of the working class, rather than the employers at large during this time period? Do you think it would have had an impact on the automotive industry and unions that are now at the center of our state? Again, great blog!

  3. I really like how you told us kind of the back story of how industrial economy came to be, and how American switched to being a industrial society. It is sad to think of all of the jobs lost by the new technology in machines that were/are in the factories. In the book it talked about how common it was for factory workers got hurt during the work day because they did the same thing all day and almost everyday you become numb to what you are doing and start paying less attention. In the book one of the quotes from a factory worker was “after a while you feel like you become a part of the machine” and it is true. It’s like how you said in the blog even with how poor the working conditions were and how many people were getting hurt you would think that once people start standing up for better working conditions and protesting the government officials would do something about it instead of just siding with the owners of the factories, as long as the work brought in the income of the company it didn’t matter. With the machines advancing the more skilled workers got fired to be replaced by unskilled workers that were paid less. It was all about how the factories and companies could bring in the most money.

  4. When you read about what these workers had to go through during the Industrial Revolution it is clear to see that they paved the way for the rights that we have as workers today. I feel that if we raise the minimum wage to $15 that it wouldn’t solve many problems. Inflation would be clear and it seems the only way to avoid inflation from businesses would be if they reduced their number of employees.

  5. I think you did a great job with this in making it more relate-able to present day. A lot of historical topics can sometimes be hard to connect with because of how much different life was back then but you were able to relate this to present day work conditions/policies which made it a lot easier to wrap my head around rather than trying to do something like think about how a minimum wage of $3.35 translates into today’s economy.

  6. Its interesting that the different viewpoints people have of the Industrial Revolution affected us today. I enjoyed your blog, enjoyed how you connected it to problems we are having in today’s world. I also agree that the effect of the Industrial Revolution still seem to cause issues today, people are still asking to raise the minimum wage. Its is a very informing and organized blog!

  7. It is Interesting all the different viewpoints people have on the Industrial Revolution. I enjoyed your blog, how you connected it to problems we are having in today’s world. I also agree that the effect of the Industrial Revolution still seem to cause issues today, people are still asking to raise the minimum wage, which i don’t think will fix anything. Its is a very informing and organized blog!

  8. I think that it was highly unfair that the government typically sided with the employers. The government is partly responsible for the industrial revolution and in turn the revolution called for men to willingly work dangerous machines and hours to support their families. It was a dark period for American workers and I think that they deserved a revolt to at least bring these issues to the attention of the other people not directly involved with the employees and their problems. I also agree with the fact that industrialism still affects us in ways such as people arguing over the minimum wages people are receiving.

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