Industrial Revolution

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In the 1890s, social divisions in America were at their lowest wages. The Industrial Revolution happened before labor laws. Children as young as eight were working fourteen hour shifts in factories. Wages decreased until unions appeared. There were three different class divisions; the rich class, the middle class, and the poor class.

The rich class basically had what they wanted and they eventually became known as the nouveau riche, meaning “newly rich.” The nouveau riche made their money in new industries, such as steel, mining, or railroads. Their quickly earned fortunes usually dwarfed those of the old upper-class bankers, landowners, and merchants. Many people from the nouveau riche made an effort to display their wealth and they usually spent their great wealth freely so that everyone would know how successful they were. There were many rich Americans who were selfish with their money, but some wealthy people did support social causes. They gave money to art galleries, libraries, and museums. While nouveau riche Americans were occupied with showing off their wealth, many were also concerned with maintaining a proper level of social behavior.

The growth of new industries increased the number of middle class city-dwellers. As with the upper class, a middle class of doctors, lawyers, small businesses owners, and teachers had existed since the colonial times. However, by the late 1800s the rise of modern corporations had swelled the ranks of the middle class with accountants, clerks, engineers, managers, and salespeople. Despite the demand for middle-class professionals, few women were permitted in professional occupations. Rapid urban growth did provide greater opportunities for women to work outside the home. The rise of big business created a variety of new jobs, such as salesclerks, and secretaries. Business owners increasingly hired young, single women to fill these positions, paying them lower wages than men. By 1910 thirty five percent of the 2...
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