Womens Rights during the industrial revolution - Essay Example

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The industrialization in the United States of 1865-1920s lead to some major and profound changes in the states economy, social life and policy that reflected in the booming economic growth on the one hand and disastrous life conditions of the working people on the other. At the…
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Womens Rights during the industrial revolution
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INDUSTRIALIZATION AFTER THE CIVIL WAR 2 Part I Thesis: State you opinion on how industrialization after the Civil War influenced U.S. society, economy, and politics. Justify your response.
The industrialization in the United States of 1865-1920s lead to some major and profound changes in the states economy, social life and policy that reflected in the booming economic growth on the one hand and disastrous life conditions of the working people on the other. At the same time being inactive and wallowed up with corruption government and authorities relied mainly on the interests of the big business owners: “the presidents of this period were generally weak, pro-business, and never served more than one term in office” (SAT U. S. History, 2011).
The industrialization has made a powerful impact on the vast and rapid economic growth of the country. Among the key factors that enabled economic development were creation of the unified system of railroads and the invention of telephone and telegraph which made it easier to transport and control the manufacturing all over the country, mechanization of the production processes and implementation of more effective production methods such as labor specialization. Moreover, growing population consisting of the immigrants and farmers who moved to the cities in the search of better conditions for work as well as bank loans and investments provided constant and sustainable flow of cheap working hands and vast financial resources (History of the United States Industrialization and Reforms, 2014). All this has contributed to the expansion and intensification of international trade and the development of “big business” (e. g., John Fockeffelers Standard Oil Company) and corporations. At the end of the 19th century corporations with their “mass production” of such items as, for example, weapon, have promoted America to one of the greatest industrial powers in the world (Melosi, 2008).
The industrialization has also influences great changes in social life. Looking for better conditions of life and work people moved from farmlands to the cities where the core production was concentrated. Nevertheless, rising urbanization also brought the increase in poverty as the salaries of workers were extremely low which also made them live in the places called “tenements”. The life in tenements “fostered disease, high infant mortality, and horrific levels of pollution, and were often the site of racial and ethnic strife” (SAT U. S.
History, 2011). Such conditions of life in America as availability of job and greater political freedom attracted many immigrants from the foreign countries. It is reported that between 1870 and 1916 about 25 million people have moved to the United States from another countries (History of the United States Industrialization and Reforms, 2014). They appeared to be the main source for cheap labor. Along with the above mentioned negative processes that occurred in the US society, the industrialization also contributed to the emergence of the middle class (mainly self-employed small businessmen), improvement and bigger affordability of education, the expansion of women rights etc.
The industrialization has also effected the political activity in the country. Until 1880s government and authorities strongly relied on the big business and, in fact, did not take any essential measures to improve the disastrous situation in the country (rising poverty, child labor etc.). “After the Civil War, the Democratic and Republican parties have developed strong political machines. Members of theses organization … did hem [people] favors in return for votes” (History of the United States Industrialization and Reforms, 2014). The corruption was the widespread phenomenon of the time. It caused the emergence of the number of unions and organizations striving for better conditions of work, racial equality, voting rights and other. The government started to take some reforms only at the end of 1800s – the beginning of 1900s. At this time such unions as American Federation of Labor and Farmers Alliance were organized, the movement of women suffrage became stronger along with the government starting to take reforms concerning poverty reduction, improvement of life in the slums etc. The beginning of the 20th century is considered as period when United States started to play significant role in the international affairs.
Thus, we can conclude that the industrialization in the United States of America had more positive effects than negative as the innovations in industry and business incorporated during this period helped to create strong and perspective basis for the efficient development of the US economy. The dramatic problems in social sphere can be justified as an inevitable element of the transitional period between two different social orders. Further it will be seen that the revolution and the following industrialization have made a vast impact to higher the standards of living and provide prosperity for the United States.
Part II
1. Three major aspects of industrialization during 1865 and 1920 that influenced U.S. society, economy, and politics:
a) the development and unification of the railroads. “In the late 1800s, the American railway system became a nationwide transportation network. The total distance of all railway lines in operation soared from about 14, 500 kilometers in 1850 to almost 320, 000 kilometers in 1900... In 1869... workers laid tracks that joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways... which linked the United States by rail from coast to coast” (History of the United States Industrialization and Reforms, 2014). Before the system of conjoined railroads appeared the manufactures had to use stagecoaches or transport products by river which was inconvenient and took a length of time. Railroads enabled to ship goods from the farms and other rural areas to urban markets more quickly and more easily. It also stimulated the development of iron, steel, and coal industries. Railroads provided connection between the raw materials, factories and consumers. As a result, it helped to intensify the production in general. Moreover, the railroad system was the source of income itself for its owners.
b) the division of labor, specialization, and mechanization. Before the war, most businesses were relatively small in scale. This changed when manufactures started to produce goods for a national market. The mechanization of the production process allowed to work few times faster and consequently make more items. Also, the products became cheaper and the number of consumers increased. The division of labor and specialization took the place of labor process done by one person from the very beginning to an end. This also saved time and enabled to increase the manufactures productivity. Finally, the production of greater range of products could serve not only the needs of domestic market but export some of them abroad as well.
с) the increase in political activeness and “awareness” of people. Feeling particular freedom after the Civil War, people started to strike for the expansion of their rights. Among the main issues raised by people were improving working conditions, giving the same rights to men and women, to “white” and “black” people, giving the right to vote to major number of people etc. finally, they started to create unions and different organizations to represent their interests. Some of those unions later will convert to political parties, others will INDUSTRIALIZATION AFTER THE CIVIL WAR 5
jut have the desired impact on the government reforms.
2. Five specific groups that were affected by industrialization.
a) Afro-Americans: 1) got worst jobs, were deprived of civil rights and segregated from white people; 2) faced violence and intimidation; white groups such as KKK threatened African Americans who attempted to exercise rights.
b) immigrants: 1) the industrialization attracted great number of immigrants from Europe, China and South America; 2) on the other hand, they faced labor discrimination being paid the lowest possible salaries;
c) women: 1) women of the middle-class in the industrial period received a possibility to be involved in bigger range of activities than just home; 2) the suffragist women movement fighting for the extending of women rights emerged;
d) children: 1) though the law limiting the amount of working hours for children was adopted they still served as a labor source on the manufactures; the working age started from 9 years compared to 5 years before the Civil War; 2) children received a possibility to get educated (2 hours per day), but many of them had to work for their families living and did not have time to study;
e) farmers: 1) the opening of the West increased the amount of farm land that was sold in low prices. Though the living and farming conditions there were difficult and poor, many people moved there and became farmers to maintain their existing; 2) with the construction of railroads and increase in productivity due to the mechanization prices for food and crops started to fall. On the one hand, it was good for the big land holders who had massive amount of goods to sell as the demand for those goods increased; on the other hand it appeared to be rather challenging for the small owners.
`3. Five ways that industrialization affected the life of the average working American during this period.
a) people received more rights compared to the period before Civil War;
b) people could choose among the bigger variability of goods on lower prices;
c) many people moved to urban areas where they used to live in slums, facing poverty, diseases, violance etc.
Active USA Center A. U. C. History of the United States Industrialization and Reforms (1870 – 1916). (2014). Retrieved from
Guither S. American History (2011). 387 p.
Melosi M. Thomas A. Edison and the Modernization of America. (March, 2008). Pearson, 2nd editiond. 240 p.
SAT U. S. History. (2014). Retrieved from Read More
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