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Autonomy and Responsibility: The Start of Labor Unions

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Autonomy and Responsibility: The Start of Labor Unions

The late nineteenth century was a time of great change for people everywhere. Industries became staples of society in almost every major city; farming became more efficient due to steel and machines, and more jobs were available because of all the new industries. Between 1865 and 1900, the number of people employed in manufacturing rose from 1.3 million to 4.5 million. Working conditions were terrible, providing long hours, low wages, and unhealthy conditions. Millions of people were denied the basic amenities that their labor made possible for others.1 When reviewing drive for monopolies, Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward, wrote that "The individual laborer, who had been relatively important to the small employer, was reduced to insignificance and powerlessness against the great corporation, while at the same time the way upward to the grade of employer was closed to him. Self-defense drove him to union with his fellows."2 The people wanted their independence and proper treatment from their employers, so they f...

... middle of paper ...

...: F.
S. Crofts & Co., 1932), 224.

7. Cashman, 250.

8. Hacker, 225-226.

9. Hacker, 227-228.

10. Hacker, 229-230.

11. Harold U. Faulkner, Politics, Reform, and Expansion 1890-1900 (New York: Harper &
Brothers, 1959), 87.

12. Hacker, 233.

13. Faulkner, 88.

14. Hacker, 231.

15. Cashman, 255.

16. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, ed. The Reader's Companion to American History.
1991. 1 March 2000, 1.

17. Hacker, 232.

18. Foner, 2.

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