The Industrial Revolution brought down the prices of crops produced by farmers, this meant that farmers were not making enough money to pay off their debts. This increasing problem was slowly digging farmers into a hole with what seemed to be no escape. To add on to their everlasting money problems, middlemen and railroad companies were price gouging the farmers. This meant, the companies were asking farmers to pay prices which had been far higher than the actual value of the products needed for the farmers to raise crops. Companies did this, because they knew that farmers could not buy their goods from other businesses due to the fact that there were not any others in sight.
Banks and railroad companies were constantly taking advantage of them. At this time, farmers were on the verge of becoming the minorities in American society. The success of industrialization forced the farmers to the lowest social strata as they were overtaken by the corporate groups. The government of the day, The Republican Party also did not pay much attention to the farmers. After the civil war, making a living as a farmer was made difficult because of droughts, grasshopper plagues, high interest rates, falling prices and even rising costs of living.
The owners forced them to live in isolated communities near workshops and forced them to buy goods with high interests. The cities were poorly constructed and crowded with people and residents. The work was also dangerous with not much supervising by the government.Workers, on the other hand, had little or even no bargaining power to leave the unsafe conditions. Nowadays, When Americans only pay attention when extreme work strike, levels of abuse are the norm hidden in the factories around the globe. Although the condition seems much improved, consumers don’t know the true fact- “Today, American citizens simply cannot know the working conditions of the factories that make the products they buy.
It can be argued that the economic achievements of the Gilded Age looked different from the eyes of a shop floor worker, compared to the eyes of a corner office business owner. Thomas O’Donnell, a textile worker, gives a testimony before the U.S.Senate about the hardships workers during the Gilded Age go through. Factory workers knew that profits meant low wages, long hours, and frequent unemployment, while their employer would attain large sums of money and power. Thoma O’Donnell explains to Senator Blair that wage workers only had jobs as they were hired and how workers were often fired and then replaced by machines of other workers that could do the labor cheaper. O’Donnell goes on to explain to Senator Blair that men with boys were often hired first because the man’s son could act as a “back-boy” and only be paid $.30 to $.40 a day.
They did not have the right to be educated. After the Black Death killed many workers, peasants were in demand for their labor. The nobles and the clergy all lived off on the produce of peasant labor. They received higher wages for their labor. However, criminal activity by nobles, persecution by lords, war, and disease eventually caused oppressed peasants to revolt.
Right after the Civil war, America was rebuilding itself. Arising along the rebuilding was unemployment. Thousands of people were jobless and had families to feed. Once big, industrialist-led companies starting employing, people scrambled to get a job at these companies. Although many people were being employed and paid, working conditions were very hazardous and payment was unfair.
According to Willa Cather, the life on the plains in the west was difficult and hard. Cather adds that people had issues farming, raising animals, as well as going into debt. (Document 3) Because the farmers bought land from the rail companies, they lost a major amount of money. The cost of the land, as well as the cost of transportation of food, made the living as farmers more difficult. Also, at the time the railroad companies began to have issues, so they increased prices for shipping as well as making the middlemen take more money from the farmers.
After all isn 't it time for revolution? In April of 2015 many fast-food workers were angered by the low wages they were getting paid and protested for higher wages. These workers believed they were not getting fair pay due to where they lived, New York and Los Angeles, where rent is higher. According to Bruce Horovitz and Yamiche Alcindor from USA TODAY, the protesters claimed they needed $15 an hour at the lowest. The protesters want change like the citizens of California want water during a drought.
People were afraid and concerned since they had a major insufficiency of jobs, supplies and shelter. Many companies began to enforce wage cutbacks and increased workload. Relief was not being offered to all the unfortunate Canadians who did not have a job. Many people were laid off from factories which meant that supplies were scarce as not many people could afford to provide for their family’s, people turned to the government to find a solution. I believe that their expectations were much too high as the government was struggling too.
A group known as the Knights of Labor came together “ To put forward a wide array of programs from the eight-hour day to public employment in hard times, currency reform, anarchism, socialism, and the creation of a vaguely defined “cooperative commonwealth”(Foner, 2017). Working challenges was a huge challenge for workers throughout the nation because tons of people were dying or couldnt properly function in the work place because they were so tired. The labor movement helped threaten government 's power and gave hope for the American workers for economic rights for everyone. However by 1886 thinks did improve the Declaration of Independence was rewritten based on the alienable rights and conditions of life, liberty, etc. American workers wanted to seek freedom and change to gain control over their working lives and things were starting to look up for them when the Declaration of Independence was