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History of Unemployment in America - Research Paper Example

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Unemployment in America: An Historical Perspective University Name Unemployment in America: An Historical Perspective Introduction America has long been perceived as an economic powerhouse. The country, after all, is considered to be the ‘Land of Opportunity’, and has been home to countless immigrants through the years…
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History of Unemployment in America
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Download file to see previous pages It has not always, however, been the wealthy and pretentious country it has been portrayed to be. Throughout its history, unemployment has been a figure of great concern. There have been periods of extremely low unemployment, followed by some alarmingly high periods of unemployment where even the most experienced and educated among us have struggled to find work. To progressively move towards a more free and prosperous country in the future, it is important to understand the historical trends of unemployment in America, the people affected, and the overall impact on American society in general. Historical Unemployment Trends in America Actual unemployment figures in the United States are only available from the 1940s onward, but we do know that American has went through cyclical trends of employment throughout its formation. As recently as 2009, the unemployment rate was over 10% and continuing to rise (Beyers, 2013). While many in the younger generation believe this was as bad as it has ever been, history certainly tells us otherwise. Interestingly enough, in the early days of America, employment was almost guaranteed. Simply considered the vast area of our land and couple that with the reality that the population of the country actually started off quite small, and America had the perfection economic and employment conditions under which to thrive (Closson, 1895). And, thrive the country did during those early years. There was so much to be done after the Revolutionary War that nearly anyone who wanted a job could have one. This was particularly true because of the agrarian nature of the early Republic. There were relatively few factories, so as soon as those were built and opened, much staff was needed. In addition, farming work in the late 1700s and 1800s was incredibly labor intensive, so the job that takes one person today required as many at 50 a few hundred years ago. As such, unemployment was basically unheard of and not even counted for nearly 180 years after America gained its independence (Closson, 1895). As America began to expand, the need for laborers expanded right along with it. Consider the Homestead Act of 1862. This government policy gave every adult American up to 160 acres of public land, with the one provision that they agreed to cultivate and put it to use within five years. This created a renewed vigor and America that was based on expansionary and visionary thinking (Closson, 1895). Because of this, once again, more people were needed to cultivate the land given out nationwide than there was actually available in the workforce. Even Americans who were considered down on their luck during this time period quickly discovered that they had more ‘job’ offers that they could imagine. The mood in the country was quite bright as employment was high, and the possibilities seemed limitless. Again, there was no perceived need to count unemployment due to the fact that everyone who desired a job had one. As the land began to become cultivated, however, and the industrial revolution began to sweep through America, changes were certainly on the horizon. It should be pointed out that farming work, and cultivating land, did not pay much and it became increasingly difficult to sustain a family on somebody else’s land. As such, as soon as factories began to be built in full force in the latter part of the 17th and salty 18th centuries, there was a mass migration ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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