When a historian analyzes the time period that spanned from after the Civil War to the
turn of the century, numerous changes are observed.The greatest change that holds
significance to the present day was the explosion of industrialization.America underwent
a metamorphosis from a chiefly agrarian society to an urban metropolis, and the nation
transformed into a major player in world affairs, rather than some backwoods land of
frontiersmen.Consequently, the wealth of America began to climb upward, and the
quality of life for many was steadily improving.However, there were many urban
dwellers who suffered greatly during this time period.It was upon the backs of the
working class citizens that the new America was built, and their squalor was looked upon
as being necessary for progress.It was clear that progressive reform, something that was
often previously looked upon as being radical and un-American (Jennings), was urgently
needed, if only to preserve the American ideal of an egalitarian society, so that it should
not become only an empty assertion with no basis on reality.
Working conditions were often appalling, with many factory workers laboring six
days a week, with twelve hour shifts.Steel workers could expect as much as eighty-four
hours a week in the steel mill – which is over twice as much as the forty-hour work week
that is the norm for today.Not only were the wages low, but many factories worked
seasonally, and would shut down for months at a time, with all the workers left without a
paycheck until factory was reopened.(Jennings)Obviously, such circumstances were
Especially alarming was the use of child labor.Child laborers were mentally,
emotionally, and physically stunted because they were starved of the normal affection and
recreation that a child should enjoy.Many of the jobs performed by children were quite
dangerous.When one looks at pictures of &qu…