Race, Class, & Gender in Early America

Topics: Slavery, Racism, Slavery in the United States Pages: 3 (1163 words) Published: October 16, 2005
Throughout history, much of society, more or less, accepts the structure of our industrialized labor force. One hardly takes a moment to stop and think of how it all started. The industrialization of a nation had to begin somewhere. After reading Leith Mullings article "Uneven Development: Class, Race, and Gender in the United States Before 1900", many issues that I previously hadn't considered were brought to light. The development of our nation and the structure that our workforce would take on comes right from the 19th century. The influx of immigrants to the new country brought to the fields and plantations an array of settlers, homemakers, and workers. Early European indentured servants sometimes worked in the fields along with indentured servants from Africa. Soon after it, would be mostly African American slaves providing the planters with labor. This cheap labor offered the opportunity for industrialization to take place. Due to the fact that cheap labor was so abundant our economy was able to set foothold. Yet the price the slaves paid in the long run and the outcome for the structural beginnings of a workforce began from shaky ground. During the late 19th century and early in to the 20th century the development of our economy was effected by race, class, and gender. Generally I wouldn't have looked at all three of these distinctions as crucial elements as to how our workforce is structured today. The position of the slave workers, predominantly the women slaves has caused me to revise my earlier thoughts. Our pattern in following the model of the European industrialization seems to have been a smart move. The indentured servants and then slave families of all classes have made such an important impact on the way that our workforce came to be what it is today. As the numbers of plantations and farms grew, so did the numbers of slaves coming to and being born in America. The creation of slave families also played an...
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