Progressive Era, Industrial City

The employers of the industrial city took advantage of the growth of population, and exploited the migration of immigrants moving to the cities looking for work, along with the fact that there were no regulations to keep the businesses in check at the same time the growth of the city was so fast and the lack of education on sanitation, life for the immigrant was dirty and difficult. For example; in New York City 1870-1920, population grew from 942,292 to 5,620,040 with the percentages: Austria-Hungary 8%, Russia 8%, Italy 6%, England 6%, Ireland 30%, Germany 33%, and Other Foreign 9%.

(Rise of the Industrial City: New Places, New Peoples) With such a growth and the need for workers along with the need for employment, businessmen took advantage of this to fuel their greed at the cost of people’s quality of life and health.

There are eight basic categories that these affected; Income and Wealth, Child Labor, Working Conditions, Public Health and Length of Life, Rise of the Middle Class, Working Class Families, The Role of Women, and The conditions of living. So, what were the conditions of this time period, and what affects did they have, just how much of a role in this period did women have, and what kind of role did women have in causing there to be changes.

The growth of the industrial era caused the growth of the city; the growth of the city had fueled the industrial era to explode with growth, and over population of foreign countries that did not have the economy nor the opportunities for employment along with poor leadership. America was a growing country in industry and wanted cheap labor, the immigrant was the simple/easy answer to the greed of the business of industry.

The growth of the city outpaced the ability for the local offices to extend the ability to provide proper garbage collection, clean water, and proper sewage systems in the poorer areas of the city; this caused the deterioration of the conditions.

These areas were large, crowded, and impersonal. Corruption ran rampant throughout these areas with government, landlords, construction, and employers. High rents, low wages, and poor services caused life to be quite miserable in the midst of extraordinary economic growth.

The progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries succeeded in reducing some of the corruption and in establishing housing codes, public health measures, and civil service examinations in city governments. For example; Typhoid had taken many lives of the immigrant and the poor living in squander within the city of the early part of the 19th century.

A great example of this is the history/story of Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary), because if the separation of the wealthy and the poor, Typhoid was more of an epidemic within the lower classes that lived in the enter city. It was confusing to the medical community when those that seemed immune to it started to contract and some die; it became quite a mystery and became an investigation for a few scientist/doctors, George Soper began his investigation on Mary, Mary lived with in the squander of the enter city, but worked as a cook for the wealthy. It turned out that Typhoid could be passed to another through handling uncooked food.

Even though, there were deaths, it is thanks to this that there were changes brought about in the medical field on how Typhoid was treated, new medical practices, awareness, and cleanup of the enter city was brought about. But, until there had been a new awareness, the quality of life decreased a great deal in the first sixty years of the Industrial Revolution. Skilled workers, for example, lived well in pre-industrial society as a kind of middle class.

They tended their own gardens, worked on textiles in their homes or small shops, and raised farm animals. They were their own bosses. For skilled workers, the quality of living conditions deteriorated significantly, the quality of life took a sharp downturn. A neighborhood or known as a quarter once known for its neatness and order had become a mass of misery and filth. In the words of Rudyard Kipling, “Its water is the water of the Hugli, and its air is dirt. Also it says that it is the 'boss' town of America.”

“Having seen it, I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.” Kipling goes on to describe the Hotel Palmer House; he was not impressed, when he arrived at the hotel he described it as a huge hall of “[t]essellated marble, crammed with people talking about money and spitting about everywhere.”

He goes on to describe the people as “[b]arbarians charging in and out.” As shown in the video about Mary Mallon, people had to live in great numbers in small dwellings, clean water was not to be found for bathing, horses are known to drop about 40 pounds of manure and about 10 gallons of urine a day, and the city government services were not able to cover the area sufficiently enough to be effective, so the streets were lined with trash, manure, etc.

This was a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and germs to multiply in great numbers; humans are a great incubator for the further growth of such sicknesses. * Rise of the Industrial City: New Places, New People

* Mary Mallon “Typhoid Mary” video * Lecture Then there were the working conditions, the working class made up about 80% of society. These workers had little to no bargaining power with their employers. Because of immigrants flocking to the U.S. in great numbers and then living in cities un-employment was at great numbers and this meant there was great competition for work, business took advantage of this and would hire those willing to work longer hours for less pay.

They found that children were more willing to work for the least amount, so then worked children in dirty, very dangerous work places. One reason was that with the machinery their smaller hands could reach into the more tight areas that an adults could not; this meant that at times, their hands and arms would be ripped from their bodies, causing mutilation or even death. It was not unusual to see a young boy working alongside his father. Most workers would work 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, with no paid vacations or holidays. Each industry had safety hazards.

Workers were often abandoned from the time they were hurt; their wages would stop, no medical attendance would be provided, and no compensation was afforded, they were left on their own. They were accentually property of the employer, discarded, and replaced the same as a piece of machinery would have been. Women in the work place had to deal with the same conditions, but also sexual advances from the employer and the men that worked side by side with her. For instance; Daniel E. Bender wrote, “But this was not the best of circumstances.

Since she had first started working in the shop, Pesha faced jokes from male co-workers and unwanted touching from her boss. That is why she dropped her thimble. The boss had pinched her and, perhaps because of her anger and discomfort, she dropped the thimble. The boss grabbed it and put it back on her finger. Then, things got worse. He recited the Hebrew blessing of marriage, haray at mekudheshes lee b'tabat zu k'das Moshe v'Yisroel ("with this ring, I wed thee according to the laws of Moses and Israei.")

For Pesha, these were sacred words, not to be said in jest. Was it a real ring and was she now married?” This kind of action in many ways forced women into prostitution, some employers even suggested to the women to go into prostitution. The Industrial Revolution completely transformed the role of the family. Before this and the growth of the city, families worked together as a unit of production, a woman’s role was more of a nurturing sect, working in the household, etc. Playtime and work were more together.

The same labor specialization as with the workplace became common place with in the family unit. This tore apart the family economy. Most women would work in the factories, but quit when they got married. Some that were mothers in difficult circumstances would struggle to make ends meet to keep their family out of the poorhouses.

Many of the factory workers were women, some as young as 14 years of age. They were, for the most part, recent Italian and European Jewish immigrants who had come to America seeking a better life than they had in their home countries. Instead, they met poverty and terrible, unsafe working conditions.

For these workers, speaking out would threaten or even cause the loss of desperately needed jobs, a prospect that forced them to endure disrespect and malfeasance. Some would try to use or construct labor unions to speak for them; others tried to fight by themselves. Most Factories were a non-union, although some of the women had joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU).

A great example of what had happened during the early part of the 20th century is a factory that was located in New York City, named the “Triangle Shirtwaist Company”. There had been a growth of concerns with tenements and loft factories, for the health and safety of the workers. Groups such as the ILGWU and the Women’s' Trade Union League (WTUL) argued for better working conditions and better laws to protect them.

Fire inspections and precautions were sorely incompetent at this time. The Triangle Fire tragically showed these faulty safety precautions. Workers recounted their helpless efforts to open the ninth floor doors to the Washington Place stairs. It was widely known that the owners of the factory Blanck and Harris had had the door locked to protect their personal interest, to keep any workers from sneaking out this way with stolen garments.

The ninth floor fire escape in the Asch Building led nowhere, not to safe location; it gave way, and fell from the weight of the women workers trying to escape the fire. Lots of them went to the windows to be rescued by firemen, but they found that the ladders were several floors short and water coming from the fire hoses did not have enough pressure to could the floor they were on. Women jumped out of the windows to their deaths rather than to burn alive.

These women worked to support the family, not to buy clothing, hats, and nice things. These women would work long hours up to 14 hours or more for about $1.50 to $2.00 a day without breaks, if they were to stop to go to the ladies room they would be harshly dwelt with by the floor manager, and they had to pay for the thread they used, electricity, etc. from their weekly pay.

If they made any mistakes with their work, for instance mist a stitch because their machine was malfunctioning and mist a stitch, it would be taken out of their pay, sometimes there would be nothing left to take home, and at times end up owing the factory instead.

The workers of the factory, some men, but mostly women decided to go on strike to have changes made. Blanck and Harris, paid the police off to do their dirty work and not protect the strikers, so many were beaten, jailed, sent to work camps, etc. If it not for Ann Morgan stepping up and taking sides with the strikers, nothing would have ever came from it.

Although there were 146 of the 500 employees killed in this horrible event and it just happened to be the women that had started the strike in the first place to have the conditions of the factory work place changed. It did, however, bring awareness to the people and government of the serious problems within the factories and paved the way for much needed protective laws.

In the years directly following the fire, a bunch of legislation perfected old laws or introduced new ones, which began the improvement of working conditions in the work place. Thanks to this awareness, the importance of public involvement and control in private owned business, 30 new laws were brought forth and new child labor laws were integrated. * Lecture

* Women’s Work and Work Cultures in Modern America 1890-1920’s * Triangle fire, video

When we look back at our history of this great country, we find that it is and has not always been so great. Greed has pushed this county to do some pretty horrible things to other people for personal gain. From the time the Pilgrim’s stepped foot on this land, it has been a personal greed of some sort that has driven them to gain personal prosperity, whether it be land, food, religion, precious minerals, oil, pride, etc.

The early part of the industrial revolution led to the building of the industrial city. Where within these personal greed’s, needs, or desires some larger or more defined than others clashed, just as it is today. But, the difference today is that because of the past, we are able to identify with these clashes. We continue to ignore and move forward with a blind eye, for greed is a human emotion and seems to stand strong to not wither away. Until, we as a human race decide to subtract this from our emotions and focus on the greater need of others, bad things will continue to happen.