The American Industrial Revolution had many profound and
indelible effects on American society. The enormous
expansion of American business and industry promoted a
drastic change in the basic division of labor. The basic
need of industry is labor, so a great demand for a workforce
was created. Growing industrialization caused a huge influx
of laborers into cities. As more factories sprang up, labor
was expanded to utilize women and children. With expanding
business and more workers, workers began to adamantly demand
higher wages or more favorable hours; unionization came into
full force. The American Industrial Revolution caused major
growth of urban populations, precipitated a change the
division of labor, and began movements for workers rights
that led to unionization.
The migration of laborers from rural farm life to urban
factory life was a major result of America s
industrialization. A fact of economic life is that workers
in an industrial setting are able to command higher wages
than farm workers. Labor in an industrial setting is simply
more efficient than the productivity of farm workers.
Because economic systems compensate laborers in accordance
with their output rather than how hard or how long they
work, industrial labor becomes the obvious choice for a
It is a fact that Benjamin Franklin was one of the only founding fathers to actively participate in all aspects of designing The United States of America. He was intricately involved in the Albany Plan of Union, the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with France, the peace treaty with England and the Constitution. His inventions included the flexible urinary catheter, bifocals, ...
worker. As Chamberlain states in The Enterprising
Americans, The productivity for a worker in a factory could
be as much as ten times that of their farming counterparts
Simply stated, the simple gain in productivity meant
a wage increase ten times that of farm work, only by
switching to industrial labor. For the great majority of
workers, this was too much to resist, causing an exodus of
laborers from rural to urban areas and skyrocketing the
As factories spread, there was a high demand for
workers. However, during the early stages of
industrialization, labor was difficult to obtain. In urban
areas, most suitable laborers were skilled artisans that
were unlikely to switch over to the unskilled work of a
factory laborer. The answer came with the influx of rural
unskilled workers to the cities. In addition to the
economic benefits, rural families were flocking to the
cities because new farming technology was lessening the
amount of labor necessary to produce the crops. The
factories had a huge new segment of the population from
which to draw unskilled workers. In many cases, especially
in those of textile mills, all sources of labor were tapped.
Many factories recruited entire families to work, while some
mills utilized female labor almost exclusively. This Lowell
system relied on women laborers as a workforce. The
practice of using women labor was so profitable because it
was acceptable to pay women much less than male laborers.
To further lower the costs of labor, industry often used
child labor. Children worked for even less than women, and
therefore, were widely used. Some states discouraged the
practice, but the laws were not strictly enforced, plus
there were they were easily sidestepped. New Hampshire
passed a law stating that no minor under fifteen years of
age shall work for more than ten hours per day without the
consent of a parent or guardian. The clause providing
Many feel that the fast food industry is providing a valuable service by catering to consumer needs; that it is inexpensive and easily accessible. For people who don't have time to prepare meals, for households in which both parents work, there's no question it provides a service. But all of this for what cost? The cost is the lives of those people who work in the meat processing plants. Meat ...
parental consent was a simple loophole, since the families
of many children laborers were working in the same factory
themselves. Horace Greeley stated his disapproval of the
New Hampshire legislature when he asked, Will any one
pretend that ten hours per day, especially at confining and
monotonous avocations which tax at once the brain and the
sinews are not quite enough for any child to labor statedly
and steadily? He believed that the States must avert the
trend of parents giving consent for child labor by
specifically limiting and enforcing the hours of child labor
Child labor laws became a major issue for the
workforce and many politicians alike. Industrialization
created a new division of labor that utilized women and
children at very low wages.
There were many factors that contributed to discontent
among the workforce of the American Industrial Revolution.
Multitudes of primarily rural workers had to come to grips
with the fact that their new, urban lifestyle was totally
different than their old, rural one. With the speedy growth
of the urban population, typical urban problems arose.
Families were clustered tightly together, and with the
soaring population density came increases in crime,
increases in disease, and high levels of stress on the
family. Workers wanted to improve their situation, and
naturally they sought help from their employers. Most
frequently, laborers demanded a work day with fewer hours.
In 1833, in the first successful strike in American history,
the Trades Union of the City and County of Philadelphia
successfully demanded a ten hour day. Politicians jumped at
the chance to garner support from the working class, and in
1847, New Hampshire passed the first law mandating the ten
hour work day; Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode
According to NSO Survey, in the year 2011 the population of child labor grew up to 3 million compared in the year 2001 that has 2.4 million population of child labor. 25% of the population are doing hazardous jobs that can harm them. Many laws had been passed but the population of child labor still increases. Child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of ...
Island soon adopted the same ten-hour system (Orth 54).
Women also played key roles in union actions. In 1836, the
women workers of the Lowell factories struck for higher
wages. The Lowell women persisted in their crusades, and
eventually the Lowell Female Industrial Reform and Mutual
Aid Society formulated. They were influential on a wide
scale, and they played the key role in convincing
Massachusetts to favorably adapt their labor laws. The
trend toward a shorter work day continued with demands for
an eight hour day. Ira Steward developed a pamphlet called
A Reduction of Hours and Increase of Wages that influenced
many states to implement an eight hour day. Various labor
societies formed during the period following the Civil War,
but the major step was taken when the National Labor Union
was formed in 1866. A major step at a fully national union,
the NLA had a membership of nearly 700,000 at its peak (Orth
The National Labor Union lasted only a short while,
but it did much to promote the eight hour work day, and it
instituted labor bureaus to monitor trends in labor.
The American Industrial Revolution greatly affected
patterns of society. It caused a massive migration of
workers from the countryside to the city. In an effort to
gain unskilled labor, factories created a new division of
labor by implementing the practice of using woman and child
workers. New social institutions arose as the result of the
industrialization process and its chaotic urban lifestyle.
Unions came to be so that workers could fight for their
rights and achieve their demands for higher wages and a
shorter work day. Overall, the American Industrial
Revolution was the causing factor of many social changes,
many of which have survived to the present.