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Workers In The Gilded Age

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Workers in the Gilded Age

Before the industrial age, factories and workplaces were small enough that the owner knew everyone by name and often worked alongside his or her employees. Industrialization was a time period where there was a major shift in technology. The 19th century was the century of greatest change. Technological changes that played a role in Industrial Revolution were the use of new basic materials like steel and iron. New energy sources were being used which consisted of; coal, the steam engine, electricity and petroleum. These technological changes tremendously increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods (Dougherty). Without industrialization, our nation would be nowhere as far as technologically goes. Industrialization had positive and negative effects in our society. Industrialization had its benefits; however, it did not benefit everyone. Workers that lived during the industrial period were forced to face new customs in their daily lives in order to survive.

Workers had to learn to use new machines and new technology, in which none of them were use to. There was a new organization of factory work. Before industrialization factory workers were required to finish a job from start to finish. For instance, if they were required to make a lamp they would assemble the whole lamp; where as after industrialization workers were only responsible for one part of the job. For example, a worker would be required to just do a few screws of a lamp. The worker obtained new and distinctive skills and his task shifted. Instead of being a craftsman working with hand tools, he became a machine operator. Breaking down the job benefited individuals by making jobs faster and cheaper (Finnerty 2).

Industrialization created more jobs and benefited the working class, especially the immigrants that were coming here from Europe. Industrialization required the production by machine rather than by hand. The fact that machinery was being brought in to the work place allowed workers to produce vast amounts of products. Some of the products were; clothes, textiles, agricultural goods and the processing of natural resources (Dougherty). Other benefits were the availability of mass transportation. For instance, trains were expanding and this was benefiting the industries.

There was a growth of a nationwide transportation network based on the railroad, along with a communications network based on the telegraph and telephone (Dougherty). Also, due to immigration there was a steady increase in the size of cities. Prior to the development of a more efficient railroad system, the movement of people and freight were relatively slow, difficult, and expensive. Railroad expansions allowed expanded markets; they no longer had to focus on just local markets.

Industrialization benefited mainly the industries and the rich. The workers during the Gilded Age were not really benefiting from the changes. The workers were not allowed to expand their learning abilities with the new machinery in place. They were required to work their position and become an expert (Finnerty). The workers in the Gilded Age worked extremely



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