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The Industrial Revolution and Labor Industrialization and Historians Triumphant view -- celebrated industrialization with little or no criticism Progressive historians --robber baron view and threatened American ideas expressed by founding fathers Business history school

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industrialization and historians
Industrialization and Historians
  • Triumphant view
  • -- celebrated industrialization with little or no criticism
  • Progressive historians
  • --robber baron view and threatened American ideas expressed by founding fathers
  • Business history school
  • --shifted focus from the personality of the industrialist to the nature of competitive capitalism
  • --emphasized abilities of these leaders and companies for bringing efficiency to industry
  • New Left
    • large-scale business enterprise not inevitable
    • forged to stem tide of competition by turning to gov’t for help
    • feared democratic upsurge against corporate capitalism at turn of century
the industrial age
The Industrial Age
  • Eads Bridge and Industrial America
  • Secession and rise of Republican Party
    • Morrill Tariff (1861)
      • high protective tariff for industry
    • Homestead Act (1862)
    • Pacific Railroad Act (1862)
      • subsidizes RR construction and expands market
    • National Banking Acts (1863,64)
      • nat’l banking system and currency
  • What is big business?
    • Scale of business and diffused ownership
    • greater fixed capital and more production
    • large, bureaucratic management system
    • greater geographic scope
    • numerous economic functions
  • Contemporary example of corner market v. Vons
carnegie and rockefeller
Carnegie and Rockefeller
  • Andrew Carnegie and Steel
    • vertical integration: control entire production and distribution from resources to delivery
  • John D. Rockefeller and Oil
    • horizontal integration: combining similar producers into larger group to control market
    • Competition, cartels
    • Standard Oil trust
  • Significance: These two men represented the primary methods used to expand size and market share of industry as well as became symbols of new wealth and power.
gospel of wealth
Gospel of Wealth
  • Social Darwinism
    • survival of fittest and laissez faire
  • Gospel of Wealth
    • natural economic aristocracy
    • politicians not naturally selected
    • gov’t to protect property and maintain order
    • poverty inevitable and so gov’t can’t interfere
    • rich should give back on their terms
workers and historians
Workers and Historians
  • Commons School/Institutional School
    • focus on institutions like unions rather than workers
    • explored why pure and simple unionism won out over socialism
    • focused mostly on workplace and little on life, politics, and culture outside workplace
  • New Labor History (1960s-70s)
    • looked beyond the workplace and labor-management relations to who were the workers, their ideas and values, working-class culture, and other non-workplace experiences
    • influenced by Neo-Marxist like Thompson who looked at class consciousness
    • new issues like class, republicanism, and community added
  • Recent labor history
    • introduced gender and race to compete with class analysis
workers in the industrial age
Workers in the Industrial Age
  • Class and American society
    • Freedom means economic independence
    • workers’ defend the American Revolution
  • Changing composition
    • wage workers increase by 3X
    • Diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender
      • immigration
working conditions
Working Conditions
  • Some gains in wages and less hours
  • Accommodation to factory life
    • high industrial accident rate
  • Chronic underemployment
    • no safety nets
  • Wage labor as permanent condition
    • increased deskilling of workforce
knights of labor v afl
Open to all producers, skills, races, sex

ideology shaped by political/social consequences of industrialization


coops, education, 8 hr day

save the republic

Methods and Success

Strikes, political activity and election victories

Failure and Collapse

lost strikes, failed coops

major parties coopted leaders and ideas

Skilled workers/ few women and races

Ideology of “pure and simple unionism”

Goals: wages, hours, conditions, unions

Methods: organize workers/no political parties but support friends of labor

Success: largest union, good gov’t relations by WWI

Failure: limited membership

Knights of Labor v. AFL
strikes and conflicts
Strikes and Conflicts

Haymarket Riot (1886)

    • Demise of Knights of Labor
  • Homestead steel mills (1892)
    • lockout and Pinkertons
  • Pullman Boycott (1894)
    • Pullman Palace Car company
      • Debs and ARU boycott
    • AFL refuses to aid ARU
  • Significance: These strikes indicate the profound depths of class conflict in the industrial age and helped encourage Americans to confront this problem.
  • Unions and Strike Today?
    • Grocery stores and Wal Mart
reforming visions in the early industrial age
Reforming Visions in the Early Industrial Age
  • Politics of Paralysis
    • Balance of power
    • Party loyalty
    • Traditional Ideas
      • Weak central gov’t; class conflict; party loyalty
  • Henry George
    • Progress and Poverty
    • Land as source of ills
    • Single Tax
  • Edward Bellamy
    • Looking Backward
    • Utopian society
web links
Web Links