Life during the industrial revolution

Essay by VkaszaHigh School, 11th grade February 2004

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Industrialization- As American factories grew, they no longer needed to employ skilled workers who had spent years learning their particular trade. Instead, they could hire unskilled laborers who performed simple tasks and worked for lower wages. As a result, American factory work became "deskilled" after the Civil War.


-Even in good times wages were low, hours long and working conditions hazardous.

-Little of the wealth which the nation generated went to the workers

-Factory conditions deteriorated making them unsafe and unhealthy with low pay and long hours.

-Government usually favored the factory owners, therefore reform and protective legislation was a long time in coming.

-As late as the year 1900, the United States had the highest job-related fatality rate of any industrialized nation in the world.

-Most industrial workers still worked a 10-hour day.


Unskilled laborers, also called day laborers, performed many kinds of tasks.

The sweated industries, also called the cottage industries, were often small and home-based. Small cottage work places were made of isolated individuals, often women, working in their homes as seamstresses, laundresses and small item manufacturers.


-Poor children in the large cities were sent out by parents as young as age 6 or 7 to earn their keep and contribute

to the household economy.

-The youngest worked as scavengers, gathering salable trash- cinders, rope, metal bottles. Several low-paying trades were reserved for children, like street-sweeping for girls, and boot blacking and newspaper selling for boys.

-These children who worked in the streets far away from adult supervision often fell into gambling, prostitution, or theft.

-Children also worked in glass factories in front of fiery furnaces, in dark textile mills, in coalfields breathing in coal dust for 10 hours at a time


-The industrial revolution brought about...