Employment During the Gilded Age: Destitution vs. Affluence

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KAITLYN EBERL
Instructor: Joseph Arena
History: 2002: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 3:00p.m.-3:55p.m.
September 24, 2012

Employment during The Gilded Age: Destitution vs. Affluence

The Gilded Age, also known as the age of steel, was a sequence of reformation including: industrial and technological advances, economic growth, labor unions, politics, women’s rights, and foreign affairs. The foundations of industrialism were established in the United States during the first sign of industrialization, which occurred between the American Revolution and the American Civil War. But by the time of the Civil War, however, these advances were limited to only discrete segments of the country. However, in 1860 the United States, confident and ready, began era of extraordinarily industrialization, that would renovate the country into a society that became profoundly dependent on industry. Industrial workers faced numerous hardships throughout The Gilded Age including but not limited to: poverty, brutal working conditions, and little to no pay. These men, women, and children were labored ` until they became ill, or they died. The Industrial workers faced numerous difficulties getting their voices heeded to. However, their tactics and strategies through various methods such as attempting to form labor unions (AFL, Knights of Labor, IWW) and organizing strikes (Pullman Strike, Homestead Strike) proved to be unsuccessful by the late 1900’s.

Heavy machinery played a vital role during the Industrial Revolution. Machines such as the steam engine and the railroad, especially, created a more rapid system of producing and distributing. “The railroad made possible what is sometimes called the ‘second industrial revolution’.”1 The production of steel, locomotives, sewing machines, chiefly, locomotives became extremely useful during this time. “…The number of railroad track in the United States tripled between 1860 and 1880 and tripled again by 1920…” Railroads provided The United...
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