The Impact of The Industrial Revolution

The impact of the Industrial Revolution on workers during the Gilded Age (late 1800’s) was severe. The courts and legislatures typically sided with the employers, therefore led to the workers having lack of protection. The industrialism affected workers greatly, and not in a good way.

During the late 1900’s, United States starting to change from a rural nation to an urban nation. The Industrial Revolution paid greatly to the trend, which lead to the creation of major wealth within very few individuals. This period in history became as what we call the Gilded Age.

The Gilded Age was a period that lasted from the 1870’s until the 1900’s. “The enthusiasm that marked the Brooklyn Bridge’s opening masked the grave problems that rampant urban growth entailed. Indeed, the era’s name, the Gilded Age, reflected this notion that the amazing achievements of the period were like a thin gold layer that covered many unresolved social problems.” (Visions of America, Dr. Keene).

The effects of the Industrial Revolution during the Gilded Age affected over 80% of the society, which was the working class. The working class had little to none power with they employers. Population was increasing at a vast rate. People were flocking to the urban areas which caused massive unemployment for workers in the beginning stages of the Industrial Revolution. This caused employers to have the power. The wages for the workers could be set as low as the employer wanted and caused extremely unsafe working conditions for the workers.

The first generation of the Industrial Revolution workers would work anywhere from 10 to 14 hours a day. This would mean that the average Industrial Revolution worker was working anywhere from 60 to 84 hours a week this caused the workers to come together to create a labor movement. This movement forced employers to greatly improve the working conditions and the wages for their employee’s.



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

8 thoughts on “The Impact of The Industrial Revolution

  1. Great article, Jennifer!
    I think it’s mortifying to think about the conditions the workers during the Industrial Revolution faced. After you covered the affects that industrialism had on employees, I am curious to know which one of these you think are still prevalent in our society today? (Of course not to the extreme in the late 1800s) Have we reached equality between employers and employees?

    1. Thanks Noelle! I definitely think that we are still dealing with unfair treatment between employers and employees. Not as severe of course, but something I have personally seen. In-particular, employers paying minimally to their employees, and even unsafe working conditions. In today’s society we have options to protect ourselves, such as labor laws and the employee protection law. However, I think some employees are not aware of their rights or they don’t know where to go to find the help they need.

  2. Nice blog Jennifer,

    You are are, these 12-14 hour days had pushed the public workforce to its limits.
    It really was a matter of time before something had to be done, or change had to come.
    With the people only living to at the most, approximatley 50yrs of age, you know the workload and hours had to just beat them down. It just goes to show that when unemployment is at a high that people will do just about anything for thier families, even if its working long hours in hazardous working conditions with little compensation.

  3. Great article, Jennifer!

    The Industrial Revolution paved the way for the America we know today. With the courts siding with the employers, the workers had to fight for their rights. Linvel made a very good point, with the average lifespan back in the day being around 50, working in poor working conditions 10-14 hours a day, around 65-80 hours a week, its no wonder that people didn’t live that long. Medicine is a huge reason why lifespans are longer today, but working in these types of conditions would wear any human down.

  4. I agree with you that working conditions in the Gilded Age were terrible. Working 10-14 hours a day sounds exhausting. Unfortunately, workers didn’t have much of a choice. Workers formed unions and led strikes to change this, and that is why we now have laws and regulations to prevent terrible working conditions like this from ever happening again.

  5. Hey Jennifer, great article. You’re right when saying that this movement had a huge impact on workers. When something effects eighty percent of society, it does not go unnoticed. Tough working conditions did create a strike and had a great impact on employers changing the way they did things. Well done.

  6. I think about the jobs i have today and wonder how these people where able to wistand all of this mistreatment and continue. It was a difficult time for the american working class. Some of these issues can sometimes be scene today but never as sever. Many people feel like the 1% don’t give the rest of us enough.

  7. Very good blog Jennifer,

    The things that those employers did to the employees was down right awful. The absolutely ridiculous conditions that those employees were in should have been outlawed sooner. The fact that the courts would side with the employer making the employees even less likely to get even somewhat humane conditions is ridiculous. Then to work 10-14 hours a day for usually 6 days per week in said conditions is enough to make anyone stand up to their employer and say “Enough is enough!”.

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