Development of labor movement

Paper Topic:- Development of labor movement

The development of the industrial revolution marked an important phase in the history of America. With the technological improvement of communication, technology and agriculture sped up industrial development in the USA. Some people abandoned farming for more stable incoming earning activities, while the rest who decided to remain behind reaped significant from the expansion of commerce and development of a wholesale and retail business. Industry and commerce expanded at an alarming rate. This research paper looks into the factors that led to the revolution of the industrial sector in the United States.

            Industrial revolutions led to changes of economic activities, for example when a society embarks on farming so as to supply raw materials to an agricultural-based industry. There have also been instances of formerly self-employed members of the organizations abandoning their practices to seek employment in the emerging industries within their vicinity. There have also been realignments amongst the societies so that they are strategically positioned to safeguard their trading interests as the industrial environment became competitive. Also, there are cases of reduced food productivity in situations where farming acreage diminishes as a result of industrial establishments, sometimes to the detriment of the societies engaged in agricultural productions. It significantly contributed to the advancement of technology, in turn, increasing efficiency levels in the industries. Due to the need to improve industrial products a lot of funds have been set aside for research, something that has led to a discovery of new technologies for use in production in the industries.

            The American economy defined by the mechanization and growth of industries as well as the integration and growth of markets. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the outwork system was efficient as it included the division of labor and the price of goods and services was considerably lower. However, the workers had no choice over their working neither conditions nor their pace.  Many factories were constructed, particularly when labor concentrated at the same place. Manufacturer's opted to use improved stationery steam engines to run their mills. The problem then came from the Briton who feared that Americans might rise to be the most priced exporting country, and as a result, prohibited the exportation of textile machinery and emigration of engineers or mechanics who had the knowledge of constructing the machines. However, mechanics unwilling to stay behind disguised themselves as casual laborers and left for USA (Wilentz, 2004 pg 108). The influx of workers from other countries into the United States ensured there was an adequate supply of the skilled and the semi-skilled worker. The workers offered cheap and fair labor in the firms thus ensuring there was an expansion of the industries.

            In 1790, Samuel Slater arrived in America with an advanced cotton spinner and opened a factory. His arrival marked the advent of the American Industrial Revolution. At the time, America had plenty of natural resources while British companies had better techniques and charged lower rates of shipping, enjoyed cheaper labor and had lower interest rates. The Congress legalized bills in 1816 and 1824, imposing heavy taxes on imported products; again reducing taxes in 1833. As a result, some textile industries collapsed out of business (Wilentz, 2004 pg 107).

            Americans had to devise methods to compete with British rivals, which prompted them to devise more advanced technology as well as acquiring cheaper labor. Francis Cabot Lowell whose company was Boston Manufacturing Company copied from British Textile mills machines and developed Waltham Factory, which was the first American-based factory that could do all cloth operations at a central place at speeds higher than the British mills and with relatively fewer workers. The Boston Manufacturing Company had a labor system known as the "Waltham Plan" and recruited girls and women who worked for lower wages. By the early 1830s, over 40,000 New England women were employed in textile mills as workers, which brought about autonomy and freedom of women. Boston Manufacturing maximized on female labor, tariff protection and improved technology to sell their textiles cheaper than the British.

            In the mid-1820s, American-born mechanics were already replacing British immigrants concerning technological development. The most famous developer in Philadelphia region, members of the Sellars family, helped in the formation of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia in 1824. In other states, mechanic institutes were developed so as to impart knowledge and mold innovation; in 1860, the U.S. patent office was issuing four hundred patent yearly, four times up from what it used to award in 1820. American mechanics fueled the Industrial Revolution through the development of machine tools (Smith, 2004 pg32).

            Eli Whitney was among the developers who developed precision crafted parts and interchangeable parts which led to large-scale production. Expanding the available machines ensured the American Industrial Revolution ripened. The availability and volume of output of the production machines made it easier for every American citizen to acquire one. Americans soon built up factories in Britain that dominated the European markets just after the Crystal Palace Exhibition held in London (Foner, 2005 pg211).

            The Industrial Revolution resulted in a change in workers lives and nature of work. American artisan workers soon developed an artisan Republican ideology that based its principles on equality and liberty. They considered themselves as small-scale producers, who had equal rights and were free to be their bosses. With time, many workers became independent as they took jobs as a result of the factory systems spreading out and increase in outwork. Some workers also formed trade unions so as to bargain for a ten-hour working day with their employers. In 1928, The Working Men's Party founded so as to fight for equal taxation, the abolition of banks, and a system of public education. Through the mid-1830s, building-trade workers were given a ten-hour working day from the federal governments as well as their employers. Some of the workers who felt that their occupations faced the drain such as shoemakers and printers were unsuccessful and some abandoned their employers so as to set up their specialized shops. The new industrial system thus became divided into wage-earning artisans and the self-employed groups.

            English and American laws disallowed workers to organize demos requesting for wage raise stating that such actions prevented some employees from leaving wages that they did not wish. Factory workers then came together in 1830 to form the Mutual Benefit Society so as to fight for higher wages and improved working conditions. Thus the workers formed the National Trade Union in 1834. Union leaders came up with a labor theory of value and called for strikes for more pay. Women working in textiles soon copied the same laws. By mid-1850s, the amount of labor was more than the demand, raising unemployment levels to 10 percent, causing the Panic of 1857 and a major recession (Wilentz, 2004 pg107). All these factors are the major contributors to the revolutionized industrial sector in the United States. Workers adequacy was guaranteed that there was all time workflow and thus more output realized ultimately. Furthermore, the suggested wage rate was favorable to the employees and thus more profits ultimately.

            The existence age of capitalists also had a larger helping hand in the development of the industries. The capitalists, the likes of Andrew Carnegie Cornelius Vanderbilt and John De Rockefeller, ensured they made the best out of the little resources they had at hand. They employed dozen of people and were always, in competition with each other in an attempt to be the world's richest. This made them go to greater heights and become all-time greatest entrepreneurs who have ever lived. The great minds ensured they invested more in each activity they undertook and through this the rail, steel and the oil industry grew to more significant percentage. Furthermore, they controlled the American economy for a greater part of the century and thus they are celebrated as one of the forefathers of the industrial revolution in the United States.

            In conclusion, it is evident that industrial revolution has impacted majorly to the lifestyles of the American people and all people around the world. In this current age, workers welfare is well taken care of through the unions and the labor organizations that have been formed in various states. The commitment and the struggles faced by the ancient society are the core reason for the strong labor and economic force enjoyed in this generation. The various stages involved in the growth of the industries are important in discussing the history of industrialization. The incorporation of technology and swift mechanization have been termed as the core reason for the complex industrial growth in the current age. 




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