Industry, Labor, and Changing American Society

  1. Post-Civil War Industrialization

    1. America well positioned for industrialization after the Civil War

    2. Key factors

      1. Abundant natural resources

      2. Large supply of cheap labor (14 million immigrants from 1860-1900)

      3. Rapidly growing population also meant large supply of consumers

      4. Free trade with United States across entire continent

      5. New technologies - railroads, telegraphs, industrial machines

        1. Bessemer process

          1. produced large amounts of steel cheaply

          2. made possible cheep steel rails, building steel, and cheap steel for the factories

          3. also reduced the need for skilled labor

        2. Railroads helped to create more industrialization

          1. Huge demand for steel for the rails; also great demand for engines and cars

          2. Opened up territories for resources, new markets

          3. Helped create new towns - again, new markets

          4. And gave us standardized time!

      6. New products for people to buy - typewriters, telephones, breakfast cereals, etc.

      7. New kinds of stores to buy them in - chain department stores, catalogue shopping

      8. Extensive government assistance to industrial development

      9. A general policy of laissez-faire towards business - few restrictions, few regulations

  2. The Trusts

    1. Carnegie, Morgan and Steel

      1. The railroads and new factories demanded enormous amounts of steel

      2. Building and maintaining steel plants required an enormous amount of capital - only a few could afford it

      3. Wealthier companies bought smaller ones in a flurry of mergers

      4. Andrew Carnegie was the most successful - by 1900 Carnegie Steel was the largest in the world

      5. JP Morgan bought him out in 1901, creating a company that controlled 3/5 of American steel

    2. Rockefeller and Oil

      1. Oil slowly gained importance after the war, though didn't really take off until 1900

      2. Originally and industry of numerous small companies

      3. Through cost savings, bribes, and intimidation, John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil came to control 90% of American oil market by 1879

      4. Developed concept of vertical integration - one company owning all aspects of an industry (oil wells, oil refinery, pipelines, tankers, etc.)

    3. Trust fever

      1. Consolidation soon swept through numerous industries

      2. By 1900, 1/3 of all production was controlled by just 1% of all companies

      3. These monopolies were very profitable - and very controversial

  3. The Struggles of Industrial Labor

    1. Pay, working conditions, living conditions all very poor for most workers

    2. No safety regulations at all - death and injury common

    3. Women and children extensively employed, usually at lower pay than adult men

    4. New lifestyles - urban, mechanized, adhering to the clock, mobile

    5. Great Railroad Strike of 1877

      1. First nationwide strike of any kind, made possible by the railroads themselves

      2. Sparked by a reduction i wages, quickly spread across the country and became very violent

      3. Over 100 people died before federal troops ended the strike

      4. Convinced many upper and middle class Americans that labor wanted a bloody revolution, encouraging elites to use government to crush labor

    6. The Knights of Labor

      1. An early multi-trade union of laborers, founded 1869

      2. Generally opposed strikes

      3. Wanted to harmonize relations between workers and employers, and enable workers to improve themselves and escape wage labor

      4. Done in by a failed rail road strike in 1885-86

    7. The American Federation of Labor

      1. Picked up where Knights left off - founded in 1886

      2. Brought together a number of craft unions

      3. Focused on improving working conditions - better pay, shorter hours

      4. Grew to one million members by 1901

    8.  Exclusionary practices of unions

      1. Unions generally did not accept women, children, or blacks

      2. Regarded these groups as competition for white men, keeping wages down

    9. Employers used all weapons available to break unions and keep workers docile

      1. Fired union members, troublemakers

      2. Hired scabs

      3. Used violence, often with help of police and soldiers

      4. Courts usually sided against workers and unions

    10. Haymarket Square, 1886

      1. Hardening attitudes among employers led to increasingly violent conflicts

      2. In Chicago, a bomb explosion at labor protest killed a police officer -- police then fired into crowd, killing four

      3. Haymarket led to an increased crackdown on labor unions, and led many to associate labor unions with radicalism

  4. Immigration and the Growing Cities
    1. Between 1860 and 1910, the rural population doubled, but the urban population grew seven times
    2. Immigration had much to do with this
      1. Some 6.3 million from 1877 to 1890 alone
      2.  By 1890, 15% of U.S. population was foreign born
      3. Escaping poverty and persecution, came here mostly for jobs and land
    3. "Old" and "New" immigrants
      1. "Old" Immigrants
        1. Before 1880, these immigrants were mostly from North and Western Europe
        2. More likely to be Protestant (except the Irish)
        3. Many English speakers - many German speakers also (long tradition of German immigration)
      2. "New" Immigrants
        1. After 1880, a shift towards more people from Southern and Eastern Europe
        2. More likely to be Catholic
        3. Many Italians and people from Slavic countries
    4. Increasingly, a backlash develops against these immigrants
      1. Many native-born objected to cultural practices of immigrants, worried that the "stole" jobs, associated them with crime
      2. Some of the greatest prejudiced were against the Chinese - several anti-Chinese riots in the West
      3. Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) - Congress banned Chinese immigration for ten years
  5. New Urbanization
    1. Loss of the "Walking City"
      1. Prior to the Civil War, cities had been limited in size by the need to walk to work, to shop, etc.
      2. Neighborhoods in walking cities were very diverse, with shops, manufacturing centers, homes, rich and poor all in one place
      3. The advent of new transportation modes - horse trolleys in the mid 1800s, cable cars, trolleys and subways after 1880s - brought new kinds of cities
    2. Industrial Cities
      1. Central business district with few residents in centers
      2. Outside of that, a manufacturing zone with working class housing
      3. Beyond that, middle and upper class neighborhoods away from the smokestacks and crowding of the central city
      4. Slums became larger and more densely populated
      5. Rich and poor unlikely to live near each other as neighborhoods became more socioeconomically homogenous