Industrialization and the American Mind Essay

1787 Words 8 Pages
In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the United Stated experienced an urban migration unlike anything seen in history up to that point. As factories began to spring up across the northern and Midwestern countryside, cities grew up around them. By 1900, one in every five Americans was a city dweller, and nearly seven million people inhabited just three cities: New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. (Henretta, 523) Former soldiers and immigrants flocked to the cities in search of jobs, wealth, and new opportunities. Fueled by urbanization and immigration, the process industrialization in post-Civil War America relied upon poverty and a declining sense of intrinsic value within the work force for its success. Nevertheless, …show more content…
This shift from human and animal power to automated machines increased the scale of production. (Henretta,?) To enhance the increased ability to produce the goods in greatest demand, labor was systematically divided among many workers. In 1776, Adam Smith termed this the “division of labor” in The Wealth of Nations. The former farmers and immigrants flocking to the industrial cities no longer worked at their leisure but rather under the watchful eye of another product of the division of labor, the managerial class. At this point, once pleasurable work became drudgery and dehumanizing, as man’s labor turned into a commodity. One of the main ingredients to industrialization was finding cheap labor to perform dehumanizing jobs. Industrial investors found this labor in a seemingly endless supply of immigrants. Immigrants came to America from across the globe in search of riches, but they soon found that wealth was not what they received. Immigrants, unlike Americans, had fewer problems taking the worst jobs and were always available when they were wanted. Foreign workers had little expectations, rarely emphasized collective bargaining with employers, and often signed yellow-dog contracts pledging not to join labor organizations. (Henretta, 516) All this made immigrants the perfect candidates to be exploited in ways that Americas would never dream of. Without the

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