7 Jun 2022


Experiences of Industrial Capitalism and Industrialism

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The emergence of industrial capitalism is one of the most significant developments in the history of the United States. Occurring in the late 19 th century, this development transformed the American economy. The increasingly important role that technology and mechanization played during this time is the key feature of industrial capitalism. Thanks to the adoption of machines into the manufacturing process, businesses were able to minimize production costs. For the most part, industrial capitalism was a positive step forward for the US. However, the gains that this development presented were not witnessed by all. For black and working class Americans, industrial capitalism and industrialism spelled doom.

As noted above, industrial capitalism was characterized by mechanization. While firms were able to speed up the manufacturing process as a result of mechanization, workers suffered. Since the machines performed the roles that previously required human effort, many workers lost their jobs (LOC, n.d). The job losses particularly affected workers with low skill levels. It is important to note that the damaging impacts that mechanization had on the job market are not unique to the period when the US underwent industrial revolution. Today, technology and machines are replacing unskilled labor. After losing their jobs, the black and working class Americans endured economic hardships.

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It is true that mechanization saw thousands of workers lose their jobs. However, there are many who remained employed. This is not to say that those who kept their jobs did not suffer the adverse effects of mechanization. Before firms embraced mechanization, the manufacturing process relied heavily on human labor. Workers obtained a tremendous amount of pride and satisfaction from their jobs since they were involved in nearly every step of the manufacturing process (LOC, n.d). This changed when mechanization began to play a prominent role in the process. As firms adopted mechanization, workers played roles that were rather minor and insignificant. Tasks that were previously handled by a single worker were split into smaller roles (LOC, n.d). Consequently, the workers lost the pride and satisfaction that they experienced before industrial capitalism captured the United States. As opposed to the previous situation where work was fulfilling, the period after industrial capitalism swept the country reduced workers to mere components of a larger manufacturing process.

The United States has implemented measures to safeguard workers against abuse and rights violations. While it is important to celebrate the steps that the country has taken to protect workers, the nation should not forget its history. Industrial capitalism introduced an era of abuse and victimization. As part of their efforts to promote discipline, line managers enforced harsh rules and guidelines (LOC, n.d). For example, workers were expected to work for long hours and received meager pay. The experiences of the workers are rather surprising since one would expect that as firms embraced mechanization, the burden of production borne by workers would be lessened. Since blacks and working Americans were voiceless, they were unable to demand better treatment and endured suffering in silence.

It has been noted above that victimization and abuse are among the issues that characterized the experiences of black and working Americans. Whereas it is true that these Americans remained largely voiceless, they took some action to agitate for improved conditions and better treatment. It was during the emergence of industrial capitalism that labor unions began to play a more significant role (LOC, n.d). While they struggled to attract large numbers of members, these unions gained some traction. Thanks to the efforts of the unions, the workers were able to stage strikes as an expression of protest against unfair working conditions. It would not be until the 1930s that the labor unions gained enough strength to take on large corporations.

In conclusion, working class Americans are the backbone of the American economy. Their hardwork and resilience are among the key drivers of progress in the United States. Despite the critical role that they play in building the economy, workers have not been celebrated adequately. As the US underwent industrial capitalism, workers experienced hardships. The challenges that they faced included job losses and being stripped of the satisfaction that their jobs offered them. It is important for the US to learn from its past and implement measures to secure the wellbeing of its workers.


Library of Congress (LOC). (n.d). Rise of industrial America, 1876-1900. Retrieved

August 8, 2018 from http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/riseind/work/#locshare/share

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Experiences of Industrial Capitalism and Industrialism.


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