Industrial Workers In The Gilded Age

Good Essays
Farmers and Industrial Workers in the Gilded Age In a time when industrialization was booming, immigrants were racing towards the “American Dream”, and cities were growing towards the sky, the United States was thriving. As a country, the United States went from rural, to mostly urban, which made America “the world’s largest industrial power” as stated by John Green. Since the U.S. had become mostly urban, this left the very few rural workers (farmers), and even some of the industrial workers unhappy. This period of industrialization is called the Gilded Age than spans from 1865 to 1900.The farmers and industrial workers responded to the Gilded Age in significantly negative ways including unions against their authority, strikes and political…show more content…
After the Civil War many problems arose. For farmers- shipping rates, freight rates, silo prices, and interest rates all skyrocketed. Many businessmen, such as middlemen, would try to take advantage of the farmers needs to mooch more money off of them. All of these issues caused the Farmer’s Alliance to form. The farmers that were participating in the alliance were being directly affected by the rise in rates and prices. Profits for the farmers were getting smaller and smaller due to the increase in prices for the goods to be sold. These farmers believed in many different things- they believed in rules and regulations for the road (which included the fact that the government should control the railroad), lower tariffs, and that money should be based off of silver standard. For the industrial workers, their working conditions were not ideal. Each worker did not get paid nearly enough to support them and their families, even though they worked ten plus hour days, six days a week. Workers were not paid for sick days or injury. Problems like these angered the workers and caused labor unions to form. Some labor unions included the American Federation of Labor (AFL), or the Knights of Labor (KoL), which were the first two industrial labor unions. The industrial unions did more physical rebellion such as strikes or walk-outs, but both the industrial unions and the farmer unions were formed due to the people’s…show more content…
Strikes were executed more by the industrial workers, but the farmers did have a few. Strikes were common during the Gilded Age because as industrialization increased, working conditions and labor requirements got worse. The industrial workers were having to work ten to twelve hours, five days a week at the least and not even being paid enough to compensate for their work. Barely scraping by with the amount of work the workers do for their company angered them, and prompted strikes. Some well-known strikes are the Pullman Strike and the Homestead Strike. The Pullman Strike occurred at the Pullman Palace Car Company due to the Panic of 1893. The Panic of 1893 caused the car company to reduce the worker’s wages because the demand for luxury cars declined. George Pullman himself, who was a very successful businessman know for his innovation as an engineer (made the sleeping car), refused to negotiate, so the workers, and it eventually led to a boycott to the point that any train that transported Pullman cars were to refuse. The other major strike seen during this time period is the Homestead Strike. This strike took place at the Homestead Steel Plant run by Andrew Carnegie (one of the richest entrepreneurs in the Gilded Age). Carnegie’s right hand was Henry Frick, who was known for his hostility. Frick was left in charge of the Homestead
Get Access