Term Paper: Industrial Revolution

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[. . .] Children were also punished for arriving late for work and for talking to the other children. Apprentices who became sick of work and choose to run away from the factory were in danger of being sent to prison. Children who were considered potential runaways were placed in irons and were bound.

Women also made a large contribution to the revolution, and their work condition were not much better than children's, but they had different demands. These jobs were mostly as seamstresses. Poor seamstresses were becoming an American icon and were filling the need of an expanding garment industry. Dressmakers were a similar job but offered many more benefits, as they would work at home and receive larger, independent wages. They stitched bundles of pre-cut fabric into clothing worn by New England gentleman. Dressmakers were responsible for producing an entire garment and could earn a decent wage, unlike seamstresses who would work in an assembly line or produce part of a garment. Seamstresses were also poorly compensated for work that was both physically demanding and unpredictable. They could work an average of 16 hours a day in the busy parts of the year. Making matters worse, shop owners were notorious for finding fault with the finished garments and withholding payments. Consequently, seamstresses' work would also go unpaid and they would have to thrive on donations for their own survival and their family's.

Factory workers soon realized that without some kind of massive organization, their protests of their work conditions and wages would never be heard. They first got together and tried to decide how best to approach these issues together. As they began to meet and plan the idea of organized unions came to be. Unions would be formed specifically to different trades and the needs of each. The union leaders would approach management of the factories when workers had concerns and demands. If management was not willing to negotiate to address the problems, unions would often tell workers to strike and deny work. During a strike, workers would picket or carry signs around the outside of the building they worked at to get their message across to the public and get added support.

They would sacrifice their pay in hopes that the factory would lose too much money due to lack of productivity. Sometimes workers' demands were met, sometimes they were not and the factory heads would find new workers. These working conditions and unions brought some new ideas that would help the industrial market in the U.S. forever. The Assembly Line, often attributed to Henry Ford, was a brilliant idea which allowed items to be produced at a minimal cost and also improved time management in the production field. The worker would simply perform an easy, quick task, such as putting to pieces together with a bolt. Then, the item would go on to the next worker, who would perform the next necessary task. The assembly line's success brought the cost of complicated products, such as cars, down. Americans began to acquire many appliances and items that previously were financially out of their reach.

The American industrial revolution was an economic revolution, but it impacted the lives of many individuals that worked for it. Sacrifices were made and time was given for the livelihood of a family. But this revolution produced some great methods, inventions, and ideas. Regardless of the atrocious work conditions, the revolution brought forth some great things. The industrial revolution was very important in history, and the formation of this country.

Cited

Ashton, T.S. The Industrial Revolution. London: Oxford University Press, 1948.

Deane, Phyllis. The First Industrial Revolution. London: Cambridge University Press, 1965.

Dietz, Frederick Charles. The Industrial Revolution. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1927.

Bernstein, Paul. American Work Values: Their Origin. Albany NY: New York State University Press, 1997.

Giljie, Paul A. Wages of Independence. Madison WI: Madison House Publishing, 1997.

Hilkey, Judy. Character is Capital. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Jones, E.L. The European Miracle. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995

Cameron, Rondo. Banking and Economic Development. New York NY: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Industrial Revolution." Dictionary of American History. Rev ed. 1978.

Cassens, Dick. Women and Children in the Industrial Revolution. New York NY: University of Manhattan Press, 1993.

Rosenberg, Nathan and L.E. Birdzell. "Science, Technology and the Western Miracle." Scientific American 263 (Nov. 1990): 42-54.

Rosenberg and Birdzell, p. 42

Jones, p. 5

Giljie, p. 45

Deane, p. 269

Deane, p. 270

Dietz, p.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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