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The Life of the Worker 1600-2011
Transcript of The Life of the Worker 1600-2011
*did wildcat strikes
*walked off the job (quit)
then to counter the workers' efforts buisness would:
*blacklist workers who had associations with
labor unions and would likely rebel, preventing
them from getting jobs anywhere else
*if workers walk off, employers would lockout
the workers and simply hire new workers The Life of the Worker: 1600-2011 Since the southern states of the
US contained prime land for cotton farming, it quickly became the most produced cash crop in the nation. Slaves were the main source of agricultural labor and as more plantations were made, more slaves were needed to tend the fields. In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which removed the sticky seeds from the cotton mechanically, substantially increasing the yield of cotton. To keep up with the cotton gin, slaves were forced to work even longer picking the raw cotton in the fields. Slaves Slaves were treated brutally by their white masters; sold into slavery, slaves were often separated from their families, masters would sometimes beat and whip their slaves for any mistake, and working all day in the sun with no breaks caused many deaths. Now, when before families would produce crops and goods to support themselves, because of the surplus many farmers added cotton as a cash crop contributing to the market economy of the era. This also increased demand for slaves to tend these new fields A Time Of Innovation: Technology During the mid- 1800's a number of inventions made industries easier to capitalize on. Making work easier and more efficient was a main theme of this time. The McCormick reaper created a quick mechanical method to wheat harvesting Eli Whitney's creation of interchangeable parts, along with the adoption of assembly-line production increased manufacturing efficiency the railroad boom created major
new means of transporting goods telegraphs made long distance quick communication feasible The American System of
Manufacturing Early Industrialization Textile mills grew to extreme popularity in new england and the surrounding states. The huge cotton production in the south was milled into fabrics and clothing. in Rhode Island, Samuel Slater created the Slater mills to harness this market; in the mill the cotton was carded and spun into yarn. Soon in New England, the Waltham and Lowell mills sprang up manufacturing the cotton further so that after the factory the only necessary step was actually sewing the fabric into clothes. although textile mills were a great example of innovative, efficient manufacturing, they lacked the working conditions to match. at the Lowell mills, workers had to live in company board houses or specified licenced private dwellings. they must attend church on the sabbath, have a 10:00pm curfew, and accept the company's "moral police."
within the mill, the conditions were atrocious; to keep cotton strands moist there was extreme heat and humidity, the machines were loud, dust everywhere, and above all of this, wages were tight and work schedules long. before major industrialization occurred, industries relied mostly on outwork: materials pass through a series of households until the final product is made. this often required certain skilled artisans to do skilled specific jobs. since the new technology of the era could do these tasks that once took skill and work quickly and efficiantly, artisans were forced out of buisness and worked in the factories. Post-War Agriculture in the South after the civil war and slaves were set free the south lost its agricultural labor force. plantation owners however, took advantage of the ignorant and uneducated slaves, many of whom stayed in the area, and implemented a buisness of Sharecropping. since the freedmen couldnt buy land or supplies the plantation owner would essentially lend everything (land, tools, seeds to plant) to them and then take much of the profit made from the harvest. although this was much better then the slavery, the african americans were still being majorly oppressed. The Guilded Age and Labor Movements the industries that grew the most in the late 1800's quickly developed massive monopolies consuming most of the urban labor force: Railroads, Steel, and Oil. more and more people worked in factories as jobs were created. everyone essentially facing similar cases of bad conditions, cheap wages, and long work schedules in the 1880's labor again became harder and longer with the invention of the light bulb with the electricity to accompany it by Thomas Edison. now workers could work longer shifts running into the night; some factories simply ran constantly as the demand for labor increased, employers began to search for other sources of cheap unskilled workers. child labor was very common, especially for jobs with small spaces in which ony one so small could fit. children in the workforce were especially prone to injury, disease, or fatigue; this inhumane treatment later became a major issue. another ready workforce were immigrants. during this time there was mass immigration to america from europe and other places around the world which served as an ever-replenishing pool to draw workers from. unsatisfied and disgruntled workers often came together locally to oppose the big buisnesses that employed them, however these highly unorganized gatherings never gained recognition or change until labor unions formed. the first major labor union appeared in 1866 when William H. Sylvis toured the country telling iron molders to organize. gaining support, he created the National Labor Union (NLU). strongly advocating for an 8-hour-day: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours for personal affairs. they also pushed to end convict labor, establish a dept. of labor, restrict immigration since these changes would ultimately help the native, competing workers. unfortunately, after a failed strike, and later Sylvis' own death, the NLU collapsed. even though it didnt last long, the NLU established a major precedent for labor movements and showed workers around the country that change in their workplace is possible. shortly after the NLU formed, Uriah H. Stevens took up the same idea uniting both skilled and unskilled workers in the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor. welcoming all wage earners except bankers, stockbrokers, doctors, lawyers, pro gamblers, and liquor dealers, the Knights grew slowly at first untill the 1880's, where membership skyrocketed with the new leadership of Terrence Powderly. the organization originally supported a graduated income tax, equal pay for women, ending child labor, and cooperative employee-employer factory ownership, then Powderly added a strict support of harsh chinese immigrant restriction since chinese workers competed with the native workers in the west. after some hard times and failed strikes, the Knights failed making room for a new labor union who would actually last and see many sucesses: the American Federation of Labor (AFL). aimed primarily at attainable "bread-and-butter" issues, Samuel Gompers led the AFL from 1886 to 1924. Gompers led the AFL with a belief that higher wages were necessary to enable working families to live decently. the AFL pressed for small wage/schedule changes: 8-hour workdays, employer liability of worker injuries, and mine-safety laws. relating closely to many workers the AFL grew to more then 1.6 million by 1904 one major labor movement of the time was the Homestead strike. at a carnegie steel mill, workers walked off the job so they were locked out. as the tensions rose, violence erupted; workers fired on the pinkerton detective agency who were sent to protect the mill and a small war broke out killing 7 union members and 3 pinkertons. a week later the governer sent 8000 national guards to halt the workers' protest. gradually working conditions improoved and the guilded age came to an end. new industries started to rise in new places setting the stage for the 20th century. Progressive Change the Progressive era was an extension to the labor movements in the late 1800's. government policy shifted from laissez faire, to active and regulating in buisness in 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt moved into the white house he adopted a anti-bigbuisness, trustbusting attitude. through his presedency, Roosevelt "busted" the Standard Oil trust breaking it up to make it less monopolistic; he also filed 43 anti-trust lawsuits. then after Roosevelt left the presidency, and WW1, great advances in technology and society led to the Roaring 20's. the Roaring 20's as the post-war economy roared and new technology came about, the Roaring 20's were born with the creation and popularization of cars, people could move further away but still work in the cities. as subdivisions developed, people's standard of living and conditions improoved majorly. now, instead of living in the densely populated cities, workers could live better at a distance. the assembly-line was everywhere in manufacturing and many workers were unsatisfied with their repetitive work. people started to earn more money and could afford new luxuries as the markets developed; things made to make life easier like dishwashers, washers/dryers, cars. as the technology increased, society changed into the classic 20's culture displayed through music, movies, and radio. buisness was so huge that presidents Coolidge and Hoover never placed any restrictions on it. welcoming the growth, but never realizing the economic terror about to unfold. Great Depression and
New Deal as the stock market grew and huge numbers of people started to buy stock on margin, the door opened for a fall all the way back down to rock bottom. October 24, 1929
some call this day Black Thursday, to alll living during this time however it was known as the beginning to a long series of trying economical times called The Great Depression through the oncoming years, unemployment reached a staggering 20%. in 1932 when a hated Hoover left the presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt enteredestablishing recovery momentum quickly starting a series of legislations commonly known as The New Deal. What is the New Deal? you saw some Legislation in that video, here they are again: National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)- created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to promote industrial and buisness recovery; appropriated $3.3 billion to the Public-Works Administration for major public-works projects to provide jobs and stimulate the economy.
Works Progress Administration- another initiation of public-works projects to create jobs for the many jobless: improved bridges, roads, schools, post offices, and other publuc facilities.
The rest of the projects listed werent as important but are still noteable in creating many jobs: Tenesee Valley Authority (TVA), Civilian Works Administration (CWA), Soil Conservation Service, and Rural Electrification Administration. many jobs were created in public works, however those who had jobs in other industries began to organize when FDR passed the Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) in 1935 allowing major unionization to take place. John J. Lewis became frustrated with the AFL's slowness in organizing factory workers started the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO). later the CIO broke from the AFL to become the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
the Fair Labor Standards Act banned child labor and set a national minimum wage. Unemployment dropped signifigantly and workers became more satisfied with the New Deal legislation. with new confidence the workers were ready for the industrial strength needed for World War II. World War II when the japanese struck Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the war, war industries sprang up and prospered to meet the demand. "To organize the conversion of American industry to war production Roosevelt established a host of new government agencies. The War Production Board (WPB) allocated materials, limited the production of civilian goods, and distributed contracts among manufacturers. The War Manpower Commission (WMC) supervised the mobilization of men and women for the military, agriculture, and industry, while the National War Labor Board (NWLB) mediated disputes between management and labor. Finally, the Office of Price Administretion (OPA) rationed scarce products and imposed price and rent controls to check inflation." Our textbook describes the change perfectly on page 774: greatly important to the success of wartime industry were women. since most of the men were out fighting the war, women took up their jobs in factories. "Rosie the Riveter" became a major symbol in factories throughout America. the war ended and society wasn't ready for the return of all of the soldiers. to help soldiers reenter the workforce there was the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 commonly known as the GI Bill. veterans recieved priority for many jobs, occupational guidence, and up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits. veterans also recieved low interest government loans along with low or free healthcare for life in veteran's hospitals. the war killed the depression by jumpstarting the economy. after the war, the economy florished increasingly. The Employment Act of 1946- ensured economic growth and created the Council of Economic Advisers to confer withthe president and formulate policies for maintaining employment, production, and purchasing power. the Wagner Act passed during the new deal started to cause problems by 1947. 20+ states passed anti-union legislation because of the massive postwar strikes. the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act) nationally barred closed shop, outlawed secondary boycotts, required union officials to sign loyalty oaths, and permitted the president to call a "cooling-off" period to delay any strike that might endanger national safety or health. Affluent Society the Middle class began to grow to what it is today during this time. conditions for work were at an all time high and continuing to improove. the suburbs provided a mediocre standard of living that a majority of people could achieve. this standard of living then created the rich and unique culture that we know as the 1950's. the picture for whites was close to ideal so the labor movement shifted to accomodate other minorities. blacks had more trouble with work and often filled the poorer socioeconomic states so they struggled for equal rights in all places. there was an increase in southern agricultural land of 7.5 million acres, this created a demand for cheap labor. Mexican illegal immigration increased so congress reintroduced the Brecero Program allowing mexicans to work in america seasonally then at the end of their contract they were to return to mexico. 60's To Today in 1965 Lyndon Johnson with his war on poverty created Medicare to provide healthcare for the aged, as well as Medicaid for the poor. feminism brought women to great activism in social problems such as trouble in the workplace. as traditional women spheres deteriorated many women progressed into complete independance. as college became hugely popular and often expected among middle class people, a variety of more intellegent jobs were opened up along with the growth of small buisnesses and entrepreneurship. the farming industry which once was the backbone of America shrunk containing only 6% of the labor force in the 1960's as new large-scale farming methods required heavy-duty equipment and could produce huge yields of crop so not as many farms were needed. during Clinton's presidency, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) massively changed trade in north america in that Canada and Mexico were freely open. on to today, probably the main problem to labor in america is outsourcing. we saw outsourcing on a small scale in the early 1800's before manufacturing was prevalent. now, however it is global. we see that everything is made in China or Indonesia, it is cheaper now to have things made overseas and then shipped to america then it is to simply have them made in america. AND ALL OF THAT IS... The American System of manufacturing is bascically efficiantly producing things so that theyre quickly made, easilly fixed, and cheap. mass production arose quickly. Works Cited (Pictures, Movies, and the Textbook)
Admin. "Cotton Gin." Full Issue. 2 Mar. 2011. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.fullissue.com/index.php/cotton-gin.html>.
Boyer, Paul S. The Enduring Vision a History of the American People. Boston [u.a.: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
Boyer, Paul S. The Enduring Vision a History of the American People. Boston [u.a.: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.
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"YouTube - Documenting America - David Kennedy on the New Deal Programs." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Butlerfilmstv, 15 Dec. 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-J0tU47XQ4>.
"YouTube - New Deal Labor Legislation." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. JOHNFITZAMH2020, 25 Oct. 2007. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03hPj-sOW5g>. By: Preston Schofield