As industry exponentially grew after the Civil War, the need for labor and materials to power newly-created manufacturing giants caused new social classes to form: the rich corporation owners and the poor laborers. Unfathomably rich Robber Barons, or plutocratic American Capitalists, dominated the economy and industry and profited from the slave-like work of millions of poor laborers during this time period. Moreover, the poor working class and the rich further divided by distribution of wealth. Therefore, exploitation of capitalism widened the gap between the rich and poor classes of America, and both newly-formed classes developed reasons for the change. During the period of industrialization, between 1865 and the early 1900’s, corporate …show more content…
To start, John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest capitalists in history, used the term Social Darwinism to say why some people were poor and some were rich. This ideal is exemplified in Ghent’s Our Benevolent Feudalism, (Doc. 7), which explains why the principle of “Survival of the fittest” applies to laissez-faire capitalism. Essentially, it said that if someone was not successful, it was a result of not working hard enough. Consequently, many rich Americans believed in this view, and used it as an explanation of why some are poor and some are rich. Additionally, a similar view is expressed in Progress & Poverty, written by J.M Dent. (Doc. 11). In Progress & Poverty, Dent explains that an uneven distribution of wealth will aid social progress, because it will drive people to work harder, which in almost all cases, never worked, and only caused social unrest and strikes. Conversely, some politicians fought for workers’ rights and developed legislation in response. To illustrate, in 1890, John Sherman passed a bill known as the “Sherman Antitrust Act,” which attempted to counter the growing number of trusts and monopolies in the country (Doc. 4). Although the Antitrust Act failed to stop any trusts, the act did help pave the way for legislation in the early 1900’s that would help workers and workers’ rights. In conclusion, …show more content…
American capitalists took advantage of the newly-formed poor class and build their empires on the backs of child labor and underpaid, overworked laborers. Therefore, exploitation of capitalism widened the gap between the rich and poor classes of America, and both newly-formed classes developed reasons for the change. But, social unrest caused by this new economy and exploitation would lead to disastrous results in the
The Gilded Age was an age of rapid economic growth. Railroads, factories, and mines were slowly popping up across the country, creating a variety of new opportunities for entrepreneurs and laborers alike. These new inventions and opportunities created “...an unprecedented accumulation of wealth” (GML, 601). But the transition of America from a small farming based nation to a powerful industrial one created a huge rift between social classes. Most people were either filthy rich or dirt poor, with workers being the latter.
“After the Black Death, as the rich saw their wealth disappear and poor laborers and peasant farmers become wealthier, they took measures to stop the trend” (Hardman). King Edward III of England made it illegal for workers to demand wages higher than they had been before the plague which made the peasants revolt (Hardman). The peasants successfully revolted, the manor system ended, and they were able to demand higher wages and their freedom to work where they wanted to. Wealthy peasants could now start to specialize in jobs, which then created the bourgeois or the middle
Farmers, workers, and local reformers organized the change in Gilded Age but fail to achieve substantive because the government respond with force to prevent labor difficulties. Most industrialists sought to crush the unions but were not satisfied. Plus, farmers, workers, and local reformers take advantage of the new technologies but it backfired them with falling prices for their produce. Many Americans reunite due to the labor contracts of freedom and the power in the workplace. For most workers, economic insecurity remained a basic fact of
Corporate greedy and corrupt politicians were specific problems and injustices that were present in American life during the late 1800s and early 1900s however these were addressed during the progressive era with laws and regulations. Throughout the gilded era corrupt politicians and corporate greedy allowed the upper class and businessmen to take advantage of the working class. This means that a majority of the population were hurt during the gilded age whereas a small percentage benefitted. As seen in document 1, living conditions were crowded, dirty, and unsafe.
The 19th century market revolution “transformed a subsistence economy of scattered farms and tiny workshops into a national network of industry and commerce.” Technological advances like the cotton gin and the McCormick reaper, invented in 1793 and 1831, respectively, “made ambitious capitalists out of humble plowmen”; meanwhile, a transportation revolution between 1815 and 1860 gave rise to a “truly continental economy” as trains, steamships, and the Pony Express joined the entire nation in an “intimate commercial union,” cutting transport costs by an average of 90 percent. But while prosperity increased overall, the market revolution also “widened the gulf between the rich and the poor.” While so-called ‘captains of industry’ made millions, unskilled urban workers were brutally exploited by their ruthlessly competitive capitalist overlords, suffering from long hours, low wages, and inadequate nourishment. Furthermore, work became a drudgery rather than a meaningful endeavor.
in 1929 a coal mine worker only earned a third of what the rest of the nation did. There was also troubles in the textile industry because of the invention of new materials and the overproduction of the previous one. Cartels, trusts and monopolies - ‘fixed the market’ and tried to keep prices high and wages
When a man named Andrew Carnegie, a lucky refugee among the “25 million” (McNee, Immigration) immigrants coming from the European countries to the United States in hope for liberty and jobs, he then later became one of the richest man in the world and revolutionized the American’s industry by invested all his fortunes into the steel industry. Because of his idea of “hard-driving” (McNee, Industrialism) way of labor, Carnegie doesn’t want to replace his old equipment at the steel mills for a new one; instead, he drives the equipment to produce until it exploded as it will reduce costs and is more efficient. Trades and businesses were blooming because of the “Great merger movement” (McNee, Industrialism). When a group of “Investment bankers, like J.P. Morgan & CO.”
Women and children’s work hours were reduced, leading to lower family wages. The high prices of bread at this time made the smaller household income a major issue, as the situation only got worse in the passing of the Corn Laws. The working class suffered the most in response to the Corn Laws. The aristocracy, however, benefitted from the power they now possessed of purchasing a good unavailable to the lower classes. This proves the complexity of the social hierarchy of the nineteenth century, a society defined by gradually blurring lines between several different levels of lower and middle classes.
At the turn of the 20th century, America was in the midst of a new era of growth. During the Second Industrial Revolution, millions of Americans saw the rise in technological innovation and the corporation. Those who made it rich in America did so by mass producing goods, like Andrew Carnegie and steel. In New York City, the arrival of thousands of immigrants per day allowed a labor-intensive industry to prop up among a land restricted area. With new inventions and ways to manufacture goods, mass amounts of cheap labor, and a pro-business government the economic conditions involving the garment industry in New York City during the Second Industrial Revolution was one of major, but sometimes volatile, growth with mass inequality.
Thesis : After the Civil War, America was in a post-war boom. During the 1870-1890, big business moguls, such as Rockefeller and Carnegie, create huge corporations which not only affected the economy, but also affected the political realm of America. While many may assume that during the rise of these big business helped to change the economy and politics, the real focus was on the responses formed by society, such as labor unions, increase public outcry, and political opposition groups that helped to change society. A: Economically, big business flourished during the late 1800s.
In the early 1900s, corporations and monopolies were major concerns, especially the larger corporations and monopolies that dominated the market and were controlled by trusts.
Social Darwinism favored the wealthy. Social Darwinism appealed to Protestant work ethic and supported laissez-faire policies. In Social Darwinism, is was thought that everyone could “prosper with hard work, intelligence, and perseverance.” Social Darwinism was used by men like, Andrew Carnegie. They used it to support their practices.
The wealthy received special treatment, while the rest suffered. Zinn continues with the event following the Sherman Anti-Trust Act being passed. The act was supposed to attack monopolies however, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the elites and the bill was nullified, however it made it applicable to the workers striking for better job treatment. More and more workers began flooding the states due to the railroads and railroad construction. For example, railroads brought in so many Chinese workers to build the tracks that 1/10 the Californian population was Chinese by 1880.
Luckily, the post-war boom in the economy aided the all classes in the community, and this actually points to the start of how America became known as ‘classless’ for the growing economic equality between its classes. The first cause of this equality was the closing pay-gap (Hoberek 3), and as a result the middle class grew at a remarkable rate with the addition of worker class citizens, becoming the largest class in America. Jack Beatty believes that this is what put a temporary stop to the class conflict, the idea of a country where classes do not exist (qtd. in Hoberek 5) .