Industrial Revolution Essay

"No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit." (Carnegie) One of the major characteristics that define the success of this Golden age was that of the onset of the multitude of inventions that played a major role in the reformation of agriculture and lifestyle.The transformation of the United States into an industrial nation took place largely after the Civil War and on the Britsih model.

Although the Industrial Revolution brought many positive inventions, the class divisions were obvious because the workers were paid at horrible wages. The Industrial Revolution, wages, and class divisions were all part of the economic power.

The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain, and eventually spread to two different countries. Manual labor was replaced by machine manufacture and economy based on industries. It is called the revolution because of its impact in technology, society, economy and culture. "Although the size of the industrial work force increased dramatically, the number of firms in a given industry shrank." (Goldfield 53)

There is much controversy as to whether the changes were for better or for worse and to whether the Industrial Revolution was a good thing or a bad thing. Some people say that it improved peoples' lives, and that technology and entertainment got better. Others disagree and say that it was a bad thing and that during the Industrial Revolution there were terrible working and living conditions and many people suffered because of the changes that took place.

They also say that it caused a lot of pollution and that it changed many people's lifestyles for the worse. Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan were all big influences on the Industrial Revolution. Andrew Carnegie grew up in the lower class, having to work his way up to provide for his family. Carnegie was a broker in Wall Street selling railroads bonds for huge commissions, and was soon a millionaire. "Carnegie accordingly endowed libraries, cultural institutions, and schools throughout the country." (Goldfield 64) John D. Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil company, making millions of dollars.

"The capital was $110 million, the profit was $45 million a year, and John D. Rockefeller's fortune was estimated at $200 million." (Zinn) J.P. Morgan was an American financier, banker and philanthropist during his time. He merged with Carnegie Steel Company and several other steel and iron companies to form the United Stated Steel Corporations. "We do not want financial convulsions and have one thing one day and another thing another day." (Zinn) While industries were building up they were willing to hire workers only to pay them at a low wage.

In the early years of the Industrial Revolution, workers were not payed very well. Women found jobs mainly in domestic service, textile factories, and piece work shops. The typical female factory worker made $6 a week. Some working-class women turned to prostitution. "As much as 10 percent of New York's female working-age population worked in the sex business in the 1890's."(Goldfield 60) Children suffered the most working in the factories. For all there hard work they would do, children would make about $3 a week, or maybe not even get paid.

Young boys were to pluck waste matter from coal tumbling down, inhaling harmful coal dust all day. Young girls were losing fingers from mill accidents. The treatment of children in the factories was often cruel and unusual, the children's safety was generally neglected. "...Pennsylvania and a few other states had passed legislation regulating child labor, but enforcement of these laws was lax." (Goldfield 60) Many men still worked in farming, and they worked long hours.

There were men who worked in factories who were not payed very much, but did earn more than the women who worked in the factories. " ...women recieved $4 a week for work for which men were paid $16 a week." (Goldfield 60) Weekly men made less than $20. The conditions the workers were in were horrible. It was often unsanitary, and education suffered because of the demands of work. With workers barely making any money, there were many poor families who struggled to make a living.

As the Industrial Revolution era progressed, social divisions in America became more apparent. The upper class basically had what they wanted and did not have to worry about not affording anything. The upper-class made their money in new industries, such as steel, mining, or railroads. There were many rich Americans who were selfish with their money, but some wealthy people did support social causes. "...had escaped military service in the Civil war by paying $300 to a substitute."(Zinn)

The middle-class consisted of professionals, lawyers, physicians, editors, and editors. "This newer middle-class set national trends in residential patterns, consumptions, and leisure."(Goldfield 76) The middle-class were able to live in all-electric homes, with indoor plumbing, and appliances that made food preparation easier. The middle-class were able to afford to take trolleys, trains, and even had a telephone in there house.

The middle class benefited a lot with the growth of the industrial technology. The lower-class lived in crowded one- or two-room apartments, with rent that were $3 a week. The lower-class was composed primarily of workers in extractive, manufacturing, and service industries, who were dependent on wages and who primarily used physical skills. "But for the working class - even skilled artisans - suburban living remained out of reach."(Goldfield 76)

The transition to the Industrial revolution was not quite easy. The rich stated rich, while the poor struggled to keep food on the table. They were lucky enough to get a job that was willing to pay them equally. Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, you could easily tell who the upper-class, middle-class, and lower-class were. The Industrial Revolution clearly stated the class divisions, and what kind of money the people were making.