Essay on People's History of the United States

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How the event changed the factory workers?

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Industrialization in the USA began in the 1800s and proceeded steadily. During this period, there was the migration of people to cities which lead to their growth in leap and bound. As a result, different categories of the working class lives got changed. In particular, factory workers, comprising of men and women were adversely affected (Faragher, John Mark et al.). Numerous changes were brought into their lives so as to cope with the situation. This paper addresses the impact of industrialization on the individuals and how responses to the event changed their lives.

Industrialization brought about the drive to generate money to sustain families. The family structure changed as a result. Men, the primary providers, had to toil for long hours so as to earn a living. Specialization of labor led to segregation of families as they would go for long durations without meeting. Men spent most of their time in factories while women tended to their families. The reality of inadequacy of one persons wage to sustain the family dawned. It led to the participation of women in factories work so as to bridge the gap and provide financial support to their families (Faragher, John Mack, et al.). For this reason, fragmentation of working class families continued becoming more evident for the purpose of sustaining industrialization.

Factory owners exploited the large workforce in search of better opportunities in the cities. They paid the factory workers peanuts in addition to the poor working conditions. Men received little wages whereas womens situation was worse. Plant owners were majorly concerned with making profits and thereby ensured that costs were brought down. Because of this, families found it difficult to make ends meet. Poor working environments more often than not led to increased accidents. The unsafe working conditions in some instances resulted in the death of the factory workers and permanently affected their health through long-term chronic disorders (Zinn Howard and Matt Damon).

The economic exploitations witnessed, led to the concentration of wealth to fewer individuals. Inequality rose not to mention exacerbation of social class divisions caused by shifting away from the cities which seemed as slums. Congestion of people in apartments led to the spread of illnesses, and lack of medical attention resulted in deaths. Factory workers lost their status as employees with the introduction of machines.

The lack of government safety net led to unstable employment. Periodic economic depression culminated to massive layoffs with no government intervention hence making the issues worse. Workers had to compete for their lives as well as jobs each and every day they lived. The situation was terrible mainly brought about by the lack of money and a crowded population not to forget other challenges that the workers faced. Furthermore, the difficulties of the industrial revolution led to limiting of privileges to a few (Zinn Howard and Matt Damon). Factory workers never got an opportunity to voice out their issues so as to improve their welfare. All those factors created a need for the workers to join hands to improve their well-being.

How did the groups respond to the event?

Labor leaders being aware of the growth of corporations and the influence they had on the workplace, there was a quest to protect the factory workers. Labor movements were born to ensure the protection of the plant workers welfare. However, hurdles resulted in the quest of establishing a trade union movement with public acceptance. Employees purposefully scattered the ambitions of the labor leaders by polarizing the workforce and splitting them on a racial basis (Zinn Howard and Matt Damon). They ensured unity was never achieved, by creating sharp divisions so that their efforts progressed slowly and encountered numerous setbacks.

The reform issue spread across America. Many demanded change in economic activities that would improve livelihoods, bridge the social gap and control of the corporations. The widespread violence occurred during this period in the primary industries signaling workers dissatisfaction. There was a need to improve on the government system to ensure more responsiveness to the people and reduce corruption. According to Zinn Howard and Matt Damon, workers movements such as The American Federation of Labor and the National Labor Union were born. They relentlessly struggled to champion for the rights of employees such as better wages and working conditions for the members.

The reform outcry continued rising steadily. Social workers, clergymen among others studied the deplorable living conditions of employees in the slums and gave insights on the matter. Strikes proceeded among those in support of the US economic system and those not. Employers played a critical role in downplaying the reform agenda and ensured maintenance of the status quo (Faragher, John Mack, et al.). Nevertheless, the reformers won the fight, despite the challenges, since their support base grew enormously in various states and attracted politicians.

Changes made and how they improved the workers welfare?

People who were into the reform agenda got elected into Congress to bring about the long awaited change. Government reforms such as protecting workers against dangerous machinery and fires in the factories came into force. Besides that, federal legislations that upheld workers rights entered in place above receiving support from leaders (Faragher, John Mack, et al.). An example would be the bargain for better-working conditions and wages by the United Mineworkers which was supported by Roosevelt. From there on, workers general welfare flourished that made their lives better. Resources were equally distributed, and the citizens became more economically empowered.

In conclusion, the events that occurred during the industrialization period played a role in shaping factory workers welfare to their present situation.

Works Cited

Faragher, John Mack, et al. "Out of Many: A History of the American People, Volume 2, 7/E." Instructor (2011).

Zinn Howard, and Matt Damon. People's History of the United States. New Press, 1998.

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