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Impact Of Industrial Revolution Essay

1578 words - 7 pages

The Impact of Industrialization in America

During the eighteenth century, the world began to change. The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom, with major developments in technology, agriculture, transport, mining, and manufacturing. Before the shift to powered machinery, basic machines and hand tools were used in people’s homes for manufacturing. The transition to industrialization had an influence on nearly every aspect of daily life. After the Civil War, industrialization spread to North America and the increasing number of factories transformed the United States from an agricultural to an urban nation, causing dramatic shift in the society, economy, and politics of the ...view middle of the document...

During this time, cities were becoming overcrowded leading to the spread of tenements. “In New York City–where the population doubled every decade from 1800 to 1880–buildings that had once been single-family dwellings were increasingly divided into multiple living spaces to accommodate this growing population” (History.com Staff, 2010). As the factories grew and the working class population boomed, urbanization spread across the northern part of the country quickly, leaving the rural areas to those who actually owned the factories.
The separation of the working and middle-classes increased consequently with the increase in big businesses. The rich wanted, of course, to stay rich, because, along with riches, came power. This power, in turn, attracted corrupt politicians. Businessmen and politicians often made deals to benefit both parties. For example, “In order to obtain land grants, protective tariffs, tax relief, and other ‘favors’, many businessmen exchanged cash or stock options with the era’s politicians” (Shultz, The Industrial Revolution, 2014). In urban New York, politics were corrupted by “Boss” William M. Tweed’s allies and friends, known as the Tweed Ring, who were well-ordered by Tammany Hall. Tammany Hall was “a Democratic political organization known as a “machine” whose members regarded politics as an opportunity to get rich while providing favors to the urban underclass” (Shultz, The Industrial Revolution, 2014). The machine politics exploited workers in order to remain in power and sustain wealth. These opportunists created a clear social and political division in this new industrialized America. Many different aspects of life were rapidly changing.
On a narrower scale, individual groups, such as women, children, and farmers, were experiencing negative impacts in their lives because of industrialization. Before the Civil War, a woman’s role was mainly performed inside the home, while the husbands worked outside the home. A woman’s time was more flexible, as they were able to parent while tending to the fields and knitting to produce food and goods, respectively. During the industrial era, as the shift in production changed to machine based, women were forced to supply the labor demand for factories, and less time was spent at home. As with women, children also became part of the labor force. Business owners were desperate for cheap labor, and children were just that, despite the unsafe working conditions. According to the staff at history.com, “Children were useful as laborers because their size allowed them to move in small spaces in factories or mines where adults couldn’t fit, children were easier to manage and control and perhaps most importantly, children could be paid less than adults” (History.com Staff, 2009). Children had to sacrifice education, in order to help support their families. Family time became more of an idea than a practice, as industrialization spread.
As the production of goods transformed,...

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