The Industrial Revolution started in the U.S in the late 18th century. Sam Slater, a mechanic and Englishmen brought over designs from England, that would change American Industries forever. New technologies, like the spinning frame and cotton gin helped develop the Northern and Southern economies into what they are now. With this rapid development came good and bad things. This leads us to the question "was rapid industrial development a curse or blessing?"
Rapid industrial development was a curse because, there were poor working conditions for the workers, women were discriminated against, and there was a lot of child labor in the factories.
Many children in the late 1800s' worked in factories, to help support their families. The work they did was grueling and hard, they worked long hours with hardly any breaks. According to World Book "Social reformers began to condemn child labor practices because of their ruinous effect on the health and welfare of children." Many factories hired children because "Children worked for lower wages than adults and were not so likely as adults to cause labor troubles. Factory owners wanted to use their small, to cook nimble fingers for tending macihines. Children worked for low pay in dirty, poorly lighted factories, mills, and mines." Since so much of their time was spent in factories, children did not get a good education, if at all. Without a education the children cannot get better jobs and make more income. This keeps them in the unsafe, bad, harsh factory worker business, thus proving the rapid industrial development was a curse.
Another reason rapid industrial development was a curse is immigrants were discriminated against, in and outside of factories. Many people immigrated to the United States during the Industrial Revolution looking for jobs, a new beginning, and a escape from political problems in their native country. My document shows that many Germans, French, and British immigrated to America by the hundreds, it also shows that many of them were mechanics. Many factories needed mechanics and since immigrants would work for less, they were often given jobs that were said to be American jobs, for American born citizens. This made nativist very distraught, they blamed immigrants for crimes, American jobs being taken, and other false accusations. Immigrants were looked down upon by many, the non factory workers were given the dangerous jobs nobody else wanted.
Poor Working Conditions
Many factory workers had awful working conditions. They were forced to work long hours in dangerous places, that could affect the workers health badly. Many workers were given small wages, the money they received was not enough to survive on, causing lots of hunger within the workers. Meat factory workers especially suffered from poor working conditions. Many had swollen, cut, broken, ripped up knuckles and fingers, due to the countless hours on end of work, and knives and machines. Many meat factory workers worked in disease , caused from mold, rats droppings, and cold and wet buildings . After inspecting a meat factory in Chicago, Upton Sinclair says "I saw rooms in which sausage meat was stored, with poisoned rats lying about, and the dung of rats covering them." Not only did these workers have to work the long grueling hours of a meat worker, but they also had to work in horrific odors, and fear of knowing they might get tuberculosis. Upton Sinclair sums up the working conditions at the meat factories by saying it was a "menace to the health of the civilized world".
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