AP US History
26 January 2015
Impact to the American Worker
The United States entered what is know as the Second Industrial Revolution during the
1860s up until about 1900. The United States was greatly fit to industrialization due to its rich supply of raw materials, and it received much support from the American government. A huge factor that enabled for the US to undergo this industrial revolution, which transformed the US into a world power, was the huge labor force that the nation had. This labor force was greatly used by industries such as the Standard Oil Company, owned by John Rockefeller, and the
Carnegie Steel Company, owned by Andrew Carnegie. These laborers allowed for the growth of both industries and investors, but also the nation in general, and allowed for the expansion of the richpoor gap. However, the American worker had to deal with issues that impacted them greatly. Workers had to deal with new immigrants coming to the US for new economic opportunities, and in order to cope through the hardships of the factory job they sought to join
In the period before the Civil War, most immigrants to the United States came from
Northern and Western Europe from countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia.
However in the period postReconstruction a new wave of European immigration was coming from Southern and Eastern Europe from countries such as Italy, Poland, and Greece, as well as from Asia, especially from China. All of theses immigrants had economic goals and came to the
United States to accomplish these goals. There were some immigrants who only came for economic gain, and once their goal was accomplished they would return to their homeland.
Because of their economic goals most immigrants would take jobs for lower wages and leave the
American worker with no jobs. Most industries would take this low wage immigrants in order to receive more profits. “Native” American believed they did not deserve the same wages as the immigrants and feared their growing influence.
Fearing loss of privileges and status that were associated with their white skin color, native born Americans began to stigmatize immigrants as racially different and inferior even when they were of the same race.
This situation can still be seen with the illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America who come to America looking for jobs and take low wages for profits, and once they reach that they return to their countries. Immigration was not the only factor that native American workers had to face during this time. Workers had to face in a daily basis long 12 hour shifts; poor sanitation and hygiene was very common; some machinery posed dangerous hazards to the worker; many industries used child labor in their factories; and sometimes workers were not paid in full. In order to fight against all of those issues workers began to unite in Labor Unions in order to fight for common causes. Among the