Factors of Production. Bessemer process – steel Carnegie brought the process under one roof – price fell from $100 a ton n 1870s to $12 a ton by 1900 New goods, new demands, new markets RRS (heavier load bridge building (longer spans, heavier loads: Brooklyn Bridge)
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A. Cities had avail. labor, markets, trans, and now steam power (not tied to rivers)
1.. US urban population is mostly fueled by immigrants from Europe seeking jobs.
The nature of immigration into US cities changes.
1. Pre-1880, most immigrants were from England, Germ, Ireland, etc. ‘Old Immigrants”
2. 1880 on, most come from South/East Europe: Italy, Poland, Russia, etc. “New Immigrants”
a. They are attracted by cheap steamboat passage, avail. jobs, bad conditions at home.
b. Approx. 1/3rd of these immigrants will eventually return home.
3. In the West, Mex. & China immigrants provide cheap labor, they do the least desirable jobs.
The Industrial City 1880-1900. Wealth/ethnic origin dictated what areas of the city you lived in.
1. US cities had strictly defined neighborhoods, this is not “melting pot.”!
2. The working class/poor live in the least desirable areas, usually near the factories
a. Ethnic Neighborhoods “Enclaves” dominated the American city of the era. These provided for the needs of those of that group (Italian bakery, church, school, grocery, etc.)
Most of the Ethnic "Working-class" neighborhoods were slums. Few services, and massive overcrowding. 2nd generation leaves if they can (learning English is key)
- Political organizations unite ethnic groups. They are powerful and their power helps the city “bosses” run the city “machine”. Corruption is widespread, but accepted as a necessary step to power for immigrant groups.
Middle Class neighborhoods grow as a large/growing middle class appears in/around the city
a. These neighborhoods were stable and had less transience. They were usually comfortably far away from factories.
b. The Middle class becomes a major part of the US economy. They have huge buying power…national consumer brands spring up to serve their needs
This relatively affluent lifestyle (and less kids!) frees up many middle class women
- They get new rights (property rights in marriage) and education Colleges for women, all male ones open up. Women get educated for jobs avail (teaching, nursing, clerks, etc)
- Free time and education mean more involvement in activities outside of the family. Women's Clubs, charity groups, reform groups (WCTU), literary clubs, etc.
- The advances of women in US did cause a backlash by traditional men. No suffrage yet!
Birth control advances – diaphragm – fewer babies, Men feared new freedoms and reinforced traditional roles for women
d. Education becomes more common for Middle class men and women….even working class!
- States with compulsory school laws increase. HS in 1870 - 170: in 1900 - 6,000. A major impact on the lower classes…who did not have access to education before this time.
- College attendance up; Industry needs professionals (lawyer, architect, accountants, etc)
4. At first, the wealthy lived in lavish neighborhoods in the city (5th Avenue in NYC), but the crowded/dirty conditions of the late 1800’s city begin to drive the rich out to affluent suburbs
- The suburbs allowed for ample open space to construct huge estates. For ex: The wealthy in Philadelphia leave the city to settle “Main Line”
Transportation changes rapidly to accommodate the huge new city populations.
- Horse-drawn railcars, trolleys, els, subways define urban transport. But not for the poor!
- These new transport systems are so efficient, they allow for many to live outside of the city and commute to their job. Cities begin to slowly lose some of their middle class.
Labor force was separated by ethnic/social background – limited upward mobility
Factory working conditions for the lower classes were very poor
Low pay meant everyone had to work
1. Profits: To increase profits, employers "speed up" aspects of production and slash wages.
a. Workers oppose by creating "honor production codes" that would have workers working at the same speed.
Union Organization 1865-`1900
a. National Labor Union 300,000+ by 1870 Goal? 8 hour day
b. Knights of Labor : Terence Powderly, open to all workers, democratic, but not realistic, not efficient
a. Knights were anti-strike but were involved in several large strikes against RR; Jay Gould bitter enemy
b. Painted as anarchist, radicals – fed by wealthy, media, the gov; public view union leadership as extremists
c. HAYMARKET RIOT – feeds this image 1886 (Chicago) 7 policemen killed by a bomb at a peaceful rally;
American Federation of Labor- Samuel Gompers 1886
a. Each trade is organized separately then linked together in overall union
b. Bread and Butter unionism – wages hours, safety, collbarg
c. By 1900, had 1 million members
- no women, no blacks, no unskilled laborers, no radicals
a. Strikebreakers, spies, blacklists, yellow dog contracts, lock-outs
b. Companies had gov and media on their side; most solutions were anti-union
c. creates dangerous levels of worker unrest
1. Homestead Strike 1892: Carnegie/Frick used armed guards to attack strikers at a locked-out steel mill in Pittsburgh
a. Steel workers subject to burns, 12 hour day of hell; wages were cut after contract ran out
Pullman Strike 1894: Socialist Eugene Debs leads rail workers to oppose wage cuts. Riots between Strikers and federal troops called in Pres Cleveland…13 workers died; Rent, groceries, fees from Paycheck; cut wages in bad times but not rent
Union survive but factors prevent growth
a. Powerful owners, media portrayed as radicals, government was opposed
b. periodic downturn in economy hurt recruiting
c. Failure of business to IMPROVE conditions for worker will continue to push members to become active; reasons for unions to exist still persist.