Working in Victorian America.

Essay by KaterroonyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2003

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Major transformations in daily life began in the 1870's for America. One of the main revolutions was that of labor. Industries expanded, immigration boomed, and the need for mass production and efficiency in the workplace was now necessary. In order for companies and manufacturers to keep up with changing society and times, major renovations in labor occurred. The birth of white-collar workers, a revolutionized office work and environment, women infiltrating the workplace, and shifts in domestic service branched from the new, more efficient America.

Foremen, prior to 1907, had been held in high regard in the industrial workplace, but this all changed with the implement of white-collar workers. Foremen no longer possessed power and authority over all areas of a factory or office. His responsibilities were divided up among "middle managers", and these white-collar workers were put in charge over different departments within the business. An example would be separate managers for the areas of money and budget, worker's time on the job, worker's personal affairs, time management, product inspection, and hiring and firing.

With white-collar workers in place, work was synchronized through innovations in managerial procedures and technology to supervise and regulate the workforce. The new system in management clashed with the traditional lifestyle of rural workers and shopkeepers, and many rallies and strikes against the rigid organization of the "administrative hierarchy" were held in response.

Because of the managerial revolution, expansion in office work was required. Small businesses were becoming nationwide corporations. Prior to the 1870's, office size was small, the staff was made up entirely of men, most transactions were handled through office workers, and the respect and pay of office workers were high. By the 1900's office work became clerical type job and women made up one third of the workforce in the...