Industrialism, Expansionism And Monopolies In The 19th Century

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The 1890’s was a turbulent time period for the United States; the west had been settled and it was the end of the frontier. The United States of America was in the midst of a financial crisis and unemployment was reaching new heights. Expansionism continued into foreign countries with the Spanish-American War, which gave the United States control of several smaller countries. Back home, big business was beginning to create a national impact. Monopolies controlled by men such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt and Gould reshaped industrialization and the fundamentals of big business. For the first time in the history of the United States, monopolies were forming as a result of big business. These businesses controlled entire industries and were raking in absurd amounts of money. Unskilled workers were hired to produce products and infrastructures including oil, steel, and railroads, and they weren’t given much in return. Laborers got the short end of immense deals, which ultimately stirred up historic rebellions. Employees were paid severely low wages in exchange for their hard labor. Work days were lengthy and took place in hazardous conditions. The institution of big businesses made the average worker feel as if they were unimportant and had no say in his work place. These problems led to the creation of labor unions, which would conduct worker strikes to reform labor laws. The radical labor movements in the 1890's were justified because the unsustainable wages, dangerous working conditions and depersonalization ruined the quality of life for many workers, even going so far as to strip them of basic human rights. Another major strike that occurred in 1986 was the Great Southwest Labor strike. The knights of labor were a radi... ... middle of paper ... exploited the workforce in many ways. Whether it was the workers’ demands to have a union being denied on all three occasions or violence breaking out due to the owners’ negligence. In the case of the Great Southwestern railroad strike of 1886 the workers went on strike because of a fellow employee got fired for his involvement in the radical knights of labor union. Added to this all of the employees were frustrated with their negligible salary, long work hours, and poor working conditions. Strikebreakers were ostracized as the reason for why their demands were not being met. This led to violence to break out among all of the strikers. All in all, the failure of the radical labor unions led to the development of more moderate and peaceful labor unions that brainstormed peaceful ways to have their demands met. The Pullman Strike was very similar, with violen
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