Free The Impact Of Industrial Revolution To Workers In The US Essay Example
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Workplace, Human Resource Management, United States, Labor, America, Economics
The industrial revolution is unarguably one of the most significant segments in American history. Starting in in the late 1900s, the industrial revolution brought about numerous and disruptive changes to American society. The industrial revolution is characterized by rapid technological advancements in the field of science and engineering. The most significant of which is the invention of the steam engine along with other discoveries in the field of energy and transportation. Because of these significant changes, this paper would like to investigate how the industrial revolution impacted the workers and farmers in the United States and how the changes made their life worse or better.
Labor in the United States before the Industrial Revolution
America, before the start of the industrial revolution, has a highly diverse economy. Among the major sources of income is agriculture and mining. Using extensive manual labor, most workers in the southern states are working in vast cotton, grains and sugar cane plantations. There are also farmers and agricultural workers in the north but unlike the south their economy is more diversified. Slavery is a prevalent feature before the start of the industrial revolution. According to historians, there are about 12 million African slaves that are shipped from 1450 to 1850 to work in American plantations. Because of their greater demand for hard labor, farmers in the south became more dependent on slave labor while the north developed a more diverse work force because of their more diverse industries. With the introduction of slave labor to American industries, white laborers in the south became scarce and if there are any, most of them work to supervise slaves. On the other hand, the rising industries in the North requires for more skilled labor.
Impact of Industrial Revolution to Labor Diversity
The start of the industrial revolution in America is heavily confined in the Northern states. According to Arrington, in the pre-war years, the industrial revolution is “exclusively limited to the regions north of the Mason-Dixon Line, leaving much of the South far behind” . The technological impact of the industrial revolution to workers in all industries is quite profound. With the new technological advancements, significant decrease in labor that requires physical strength was observed. With the invention of machineries, labor shifted from being manual to mechanical. However, the invention of machineries did not decrease the demand for human workers. In fact, more workers were needed as factories demanded skilled laborers in their mass production methods. As a result, a pattern of migration occurred where workers flocked to the cities to seek for employment .
Social and Economic Impact of Industrial Revolution to Workers
Economic and social impact is also significant on the onset of the industrial revolution. The Northern states became highly urbanized because of the surge of migrants from other states as well as from foreign countries while the South remained highly agricultural. It is debated though if agricultural American families in the South are better off than the families of the northern factory workers but it is quite evident that ordinary workers in American industries are struggling economically as well as socially. As observed by Yavuz, “Workers found themselves packed into slums and subjected to harsh labor conditions”. The industrial revolution, however, decreased the reliance of the North from slave labor, which may have influenced their stand against slavery and eventually resulted to the civil war. After the war, the north emerged more industrialized and economically prosperous than the South, which suffered greatly from the loss of slave labor. However, it should be noted though that agricultural workers from the south eventually benefited from the technological advantages brought by the industrial revolution through mechanized agriculture as well as the easy access to market brought by transportation developments.
In the onset of the Industrial Revolution, most workers in the America struggled as they cope with the changes. Workers in the cities used to live in slums while subjected to extreme labor conditions. Farmers, on the other hand, experience loss of workers as most people migrate to the cities to work in factories. However, their struggle was only short-lived because in the end, the industrial revolution brought enormous benefits in how work is done. In the end, the industrial revolution uplifted the life of laborers in all industries in ways that was unprecedented in the history of America; bringing economic prosperity to industrial workers and farmers.
Arrington, B. "Industry and Economy during the Civil War." n.d. http://www.nps.gov/. July 2014 <http://www.nps.gov/resources/story.htm?id=251>.
Hirschman, C., & Mogford, L. "Immigrants and Industrialization in the United States, 1880 to 1920 ." November 2006. csde.washington.edu. July 2014 <https://csde.washington.edu/news/docs/Immigrants_Industrialization_Dec2006.pdf>.
Yavuz, E. The Industrial Revolution and Consequences. n.d. https://www.yeditepe.edu.tr. March 2015 <https://www.yeditepe.edu.tr/dotAsset/74101.pdf>.