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Industrialization (Essay Sample)


Explaining how industrial workers and captains of industry saw their place in an industrializing America. In what ways did they contribute or resist the growing disparity of wealth in American society?

19th century came with the greatest forms of industrial revolution in America. New social classes came into being and people began moving from rural areas to the cities while many migrated to America to look for job. The textile industry was the first primary industry that every entrepreneur was focusing on. Later steel production and heavy iron emerged in areas where there was a large concentration of iron ore and coal. Basic products like shoes and clothes became affordable even to the poor. New social structures came with industrialization as slave labor was diminishing. Industrialists would rather work with wage laborers than slaves who would not spend anything or buy any product from these industries.
Laborers would receive as less as fourteen cents an hour and a change of job would not reflect a pay rise (Bell pg 119-120). Most of these laborers were non English speaking foreigners and had no skills. New industries continued to be created as new foreigners flocked America for opportunities. Entrepreneurs such as Andrew Carnagie who had a taste of these industries would take no chance of loosing any opportunity that may open up in fertile grounds of industrialization such as Braddock. These industries had a great effect to the vegetation, poisoning the rivers, air and the lungs of the workers but on the other hand jobs were created raising the standards of living. Willing foreign workers would attend English classes to learn English. Most of these foreigners were Irish, Slovaks and Russian Jews.
The Irish had arrived earlier than the other foreigners and therefore had interacted with other people in the land and knew how to survive. Slovaks arrived in America and there was a general displacement. Better parts of the towns were invaded by the Irish while the poor Americans and English went to live in suburbs. From the beginning of time, the Slovaks had encountered oppression due to their religion and their simple way of life as shepherds and peasants. When they came to America, they faced a lot of challenges especially due to their unfamiliarity with machinery and English language. They faced hostility from their work mates who were of different nationality or who were better in terms of finances, English language and skills.
Captains of the industry or preferably the entrepreneurs and owners of the factories gathered lots of wealth in the tax free economy until 1913 when taxes were introduced. An elite middle class consisting of business owners, managers of the factories, engineers, physicians, attorneys and accountants was initiated. A big proportion of the wealth generated from these industries was used to pay their salaries making them the immediate beneficiaries. Laborers who worked in these industries formed a new working class though were less skilled than craftsmen or artisans of the past and their work involved tending to machines and hard labor for low pay. This class was primarily positioned in the urban industries and mining centers. For the American civilians, it was a disgrace to work at the same levels with the so called Hunkies (Bell pg 120-146) and therefore majority left out the jobs to foreigners due to their unconcealed racial prejudice and bad attitudes towards them.
During this time of industrial revolution there were a few changes that improved the lives of the laborers but the most amazing thing was the gap that was growing between the rich and the poor. While the captains of the industry continued to make more money the laborer was growing weaker, poor and only dependent on the job. This inequality was noticed by entrepreneur Andrew Carnagie who argued that the individual capitalist was bound to make the world a better place for the human race by using their mass wealth to improve the lives of others for the future of the nation. He personally donated a library to the New Castle city. Several trade unions reacted towards this arguing that it was the workers who built it using their blood and sweat.
According to Carnagie, it is not in order to allow great inequality of environment in terms of business concentration which could be industrial or commercial in the hands of a few (Carnagie 1889). A man should labor not only for is own personal needs but share with his brothers in the community. Today every organization has a CSR (Community social responsibility) which helps the members of the organization to give back to the community. Carnagie continues to explain how surplus wealth would be disposed in his article “gospel of wealth ”. It can be given to the families of the wealth owner, donated for public purposes or it can be monitored by the owners. When the wealthy administer their wealth for the common good, it not only elevates the potential of the worthy hardworking people but also lets the poor benefit from the fruits of the labor of their fellow citizen.
When paren...
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