What Effect did the Industrial Revolution have on workers and farmers in the late nineteenth century, and how did each group respond? In your opinion, which group responded the best to the challenges presented to them?

History Essay Assignment

 

Assessment: Papers will be graded on how well they are organized, and how well they are argued. Your essay should be 5 to 6 pages in length, Times Roman font 12 point, double spaced, and on inch margins.

 

What Effect did the Industrial Revolution have on workers and farmers in the late nineteenth century, and how did each group respond? In your opinion, which group responded the best to the challenges presented to them?

 

  1. Introduction: Briefly define the Industrial Revolution. What was it, and when did it come about in the United States? Remember to include your thesis in the introduction. Your thesis is essentially your opinion of which group responded the best. Do not simply put “I believe workers responded best,” or “farmers responded best.” Elaborate on your thesis! Your thesis is your argument on which group did best and why.

 

  1. What effect did the Industrial Revolution have on workers in the late nineteenth century?
    1. Machine technology kept wages low.
    2. Long hours. 10 to 12 hour work days/60 to 72 hours per week.
    3. The conditions of the work environment were not safe.
    4. Workers felt alienated and not a part of what was going on in the work place.

 

  1. Workers response to changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

Workers organized strikes.

  1. “Great Upheaval” railroad strike of 1877.
  2. “Haymarket Affair” of 1886 in support of the 8-hour work day.
  3. “Homestead Lockout” of 1892 for the right to keep the steel union alive.
  4. “Pullman Railroad Strike” of 1894 when worker’s wages were cut 28%.

 

Workers organized unions.

There were three different philosophies for organized labor.

  1. Knights of labor – idealistic.
  2. American Federation of labor (AFL) – practical.
  3. Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) – revolutionary.

 

  1. What effect did the Industrial Revolution have on farmers in the late nineteenth century?
  2. Farm prices were falling due to over-production.
  3. The cost of running a farm was increasing.
    1. Machines needed to run a farm were expensive.
    2. Freight rates had increased (the cost to ship the goods).
  • Railroads charged high elevator rates (where farmers stored their grain).
  1. Farmers borrow money at a high interest rate putting them deeper in debt.
    1. The “crime of 1873” or the Coinage Act of 1873 (places U.S. on gold standard).
  2. Farmers are feeling a deep sense of alienation as their worth is being devalued.

 

  1. How Farmers responded.
  2. Farmer’s Alliance founded in the late 1870s.
    1. Farmers use their crops stored in federal warehouses as collateral for low-interest loans.
  3. The Grange (Patrons of Husbandry)(1887) worked toward the passage of laws regulating the railroads.
    1. Supreme Court favors regulation in Munn v. Illinois (1877).
    2. Supreme Court reverses that decision in Wabash v. Illinois (1886).
  • Anger over this ruling leads to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which establishes the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
  1. Farmer’s cooperatives empowered farmers by giving them buying and selling power.
  2. Farmers from the people’s Party or Populist Party in the 1890s.
    1. Proposed government control of the currency.
    2. Proposed a system of low-cost public financing for farmers to market their crops.
  • Proposed public ownership of the railroads to guarantee farmers inexpensive access to markets for their crops.

 

  1. Conclusion: Restate your thesis, and sum up.
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