Rise of Industrialization & in Dubious Battle

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Alexander Shepard

The Rise of Industrialization & In Dubious Battle

The rise of industrialization in the late nineteenth century saw an increasing need for the labor supply in the U.S. Quickly a division formed between the ownership of new businesses and those who supplied the labor for them. In the novel In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck focuses on a strike set in the California apple country. Albeit historical fiction, the novel holds true as it represents the countless times ownership has exploited its workers in the avaricious attempt to secure additional revenues. As well, the novel examines the inner workings of a strike and the difficulties that went along with running one. A lack of resources, clearly defined goals, and in-fighting amongst members made an already arduous fight even more so difficult. It was the mistreatment and manipulation of workers that lead to the rise of labor movements and their battles for egalitarianism. Labor unions would come to be, such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which fought to advance the interests and basic human needs of workers through sheer numbers. Akin to the novel, these groups of workers took direct action as they participated in events like the Homestead and Pullman strikes. These feats taken by the labor supply demonstrate their motivations and goals, as well as the fact of how quickly problems developed for organized labor, and how those problems could mean the end for their fight. A two sided battle, organized labor faced stern opposition from ownership and the government, as well as from within itself; all making the critical task of obtaining “social equality” one of great significance and adversity.

The rapid development of industrialization in the U.S. transformed the previous norm and patterns prior laborers were accustomed to under the agrarian system. New technological advances and the emergence of multiple factories revolutionized...
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