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Working Conditions In The Progressive Era

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In a capitalist environment, at least where corporations have been concerned, the government should neither intervene or regulate the open market. In fact, the essence of the capitalist economic system is to create an environment where the free market would be able to dictate itself. Regardless of the system’s original intentions, there have been cases globally and throughout time where government intervention has been necessary — cases where the general public itself has been affected negatively by corporate abuse of the market. For instance, the United States’ public-corporate relationship throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Throughout this period, which was known as the Progressive Era, industrial America…show more content…
Working conditions in the late nineteenth century improved with the introduction of labor activists. Labor activists tried for better conditions in multiple ways, the most common being the formation of unions. There were two primary types of workers in unions: the more-radicalized strikers, and the passive mediators. Samuel Gompers, an American labor activist, was an example of the latter. Samuel talked about corporate change in his letter Letter to the Hon. Peter Grosscup. He wrote “ Ask these whether the conqueror (monopoly) cares whether his trophy (the laborers) is destroyed or preserved. Ascertain from employers whether the laborer is not regarded the same as a machine, thrown out as soon as all the work possible has been squeezed out of him.” Once a worker would lose his maximum efficiency, he would be replaced by the influx of immigrants entering the United States. There was no idea of tenure, only a merit concept. Furthermore, in order to grow fiscally, it was best for corporations to avoid paying for or adhering to safety precautions. For example, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of New York City in March 25, 1911, was a fire in which one hundred forty-six people died. The massive death count came from the lack of security precautions. For the company to keep a maximum amount of efficiency, workers wouldn’t be allowed breaks. To enforce this no-breaks rules, most doors in the building were locked, which trapped and killed most workers during the fire. In an newspaper interview Fire Chief Edward Croker said “Well, from what we could find—what was left of that place up there—I don’t think there was any doubt there was a partition inside of the doorway leading out into the Green Street side of that building, and from the indication of the number of people we found where that partition was, that door was locked, and the door that
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