Workers of the Progressive Era

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Progressive Era: Working Class

Workers during the gilded age were marginalized by their working conditions, low income, and limited working hours. To overcome the marginalization for the working class, they created labor movements and went on strikes. Although the workers had created many strikes and labor unions, they were at the least successful.

Workers were marginalized by the poor working conditions they had. A lot of the time the workers feared going to their workshops because they knew what they were getting themselves into. In 1906, Upton Sinclair, a writer during the gilded age, wrote a novel, The Jungle, in which took place inside work factories. He expressed the fact that the work was not easy by stating it was a “fearful kind of work, that began at four o’clock in the morning, and that wore out the most powerful men in a few years.” (Sinclair, 1906) Sinclair pointed out that the work that these men and women were put up to was brutal and that their working hours were long and sometimes unfair. In accordance, Clara Lemlich had noted in an interview about the working conditions presenting, “whenever we tear or damage any of the goods we sew on, or whenever it is found damaged after we are through with it, whether we have done it or not, we are charged for the piece and sometimes for a whole yard of material.” (Lemlich, 1909) She created an image of fear and pressure by stating the fact that the women in the factories were also facing harsh conditions and a lot of the time low income. Marginalization for the working class during the Gilded Age was difficult to come by and their income was not their only issue.

During the Gilded Age, workers were also marginalized by their low income. Workers were paid unfair wages for their long working hours and sometimes charged for damaged goods, whether they did it or not. In an excerpt from the Clayton AntiTrust Act, a worker had argued for...
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