It is evident that the industrialization era revolutionized the United States into a wealthy and prosperous country. By the 1880s, America underwent profound economic development, and revolutionized itself from an agricultural state, to an industrial territory. With this transformation, a new working class was established, creating a distinct division between industrialists and laborers. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie, machinist John Morrison, and economist Henry George expressed their opinions of the modernization, sharing comparable and different opinions regarding the costs and benefits of industrialization.
Between the three men, it is evident they all agreed that the times had changed drastically, creating an efficient way of mechanization. Carnegie explained that before “articles were manufactured at the domestic hearth,” describing the master and apprentice relationship that had been practiced years before the industrial revolution. Carnegie then explained that the new form of trade “obtains commodities of excellent quality at prices which even the preceding generation would have deemed incredible.” Laborer John Morrison also expressed that the new trade was economical and prolific. Morrison stated, “…machinery is produced a great deal cheaper than it used to be formerly…100 men are able to do now what it took 300 or 400 men to do fifteen years ago.” Morrison’s perception of the production of capital goods compared to Carnegie’s; it is much cheaper and quicker than that of a small shop or household. Henry George also agreed that with the use of “steam and electricity” and “the introduction of improved processes and labor-saving machinery” industrialization had improved “the effectiveness of labor.”
Another comparable opinion the men shared included the social modification the new era conveyed. The new trade had created a vast distinction between the wealthy and the impoverished. Carnegie explained that the impact of industrialization created “rigid castes.” The castes separated the rich from poor. Carnegie was aware that the laborers were paid very little, which created “friction between the employer and the employed, the rich and the poor.” Morrison also expressed that the lower class was composed of factory laborers. When asked what social class he would categorize a workingman, he answered, “I now assign them to the lower class.” Morrison also stated that before the new trade was established, a workingman believed “he belonged in the middle class; but today he recognizes the fact he is simply the same as any other ordinary laborer, no more and no less.” The workers were paid so little; skilled or unskilled laborers were part of the lower class. Henry George agreed that the mechanization period separated the rich from the poor, creating a distinct difference in classes. George wrote that mechanization “simply widens the gulf between [the rich and the poor], and makes the struggle for existence more intense.” The three men all settled that the industrial revolution radically shaped the different social classes of its time.
For a laborer, the years before this industrial phenomenon might have been better times. In opposition, Carnegie wrote approvingly about the industrial revolution, stating that “the good old times were not good times at all.” The steel tycoon then continued, “Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as to-day.” Carnegie believed that the revolution brought forth better conditions and that reversing to previous circumstances would “sweep civilization with it.” In disagreement, Morrison recalled of better days for the workingman. He explained that the laborers lived a better life, and social pleasures were once practiced. “The…