Workers During The Gilded Age

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The eruption of industrialization in the Northeast in the decades following the end of Reconstruction created massive amounts of wealth for a privileged few. The cost of this unprecedented growth was paid for on the backs of the working-class labor. Men and women were forced to work unthinkable hours, children were forced into jobs at very young ages, and working conditions were nearly and workable which led to many avoidable injuries. All these atrocities were committed to maximize the profits of their employers, whose exorbitant wealth led to the era being referred too ironically as the Gilded Age. Labor leaders such as Samuel Gompers combated the powerful upper class that controlled the profits of production by attempting to organize labor…show more content…
This is seen in the text when it is said: “Although divided by skill, ethnicity, race, race, gender, and age, working people in the late nineteenth century had much in common. They worked long hours – typically ten-hour days, six days a week” (39). Combined with personal rivalries between labor leaders, workers failed to champion their commonalities and instead let their differences divide them, thus making their movement less effective which limited their progress. Popular themes such as universal worker solidarity and the fight for the 8:8:8 workday never were able to take hold for effective enough periods of time to make deep roots within the working poor due to rifts in the struggle against the rich. Some even argued that the fight between rich and poor was even more noble than the fight between freedom and slavery. This argument is seen in the handout when it…show more content…
Despite progressive victories for organized labor being achieved, both internal and external feuds and threats consistently inhibited large scale gains for the movement. Some of the victories included improved working conditions, checks against monopolies, and protections against child labor. Despite these advances, a grand coalition of workers were unable to totally unite and change the tide of rampant and abusive capitalism in the country. This led to the continuation of a very volatile growing economy that left numerous working-class Americans in shambles, unable to climb out of the holes their wage reliance keeps them in. In order to maintain their massive profits and growing power, the big business owners proved that they were willing to subjugate their own workers in order to stockpile inexplicable piles of

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