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How do working conditions between 1880 and 1920 compare to working conditions today?
The working conditions in the late 19th and early 20th century were quite different from now. The main difference lay in the rapidly increasing Industrialization and the migration of people from rural areas to the cities in order to work in industries. (The Struggle of Labor, 2012). This led to a lot of unskilled laborers working ten hours, sometimes twelve, in a day at wages that barely made their ends meet. Ironically, industrialists had the view that the success of the industry in the market was justified morally even at the cost of their workers’ health and financial conditions. There was no accountable labor legislation, hence women and children also worked long hours without question, at a poorly minimum wage. (Clayton, 2013). The mortality rate was higher due to cramped up working stations and excessive working hours. Compared with the present day, laborers have their rights, cannot work more than 8 hours a day, their wages are better, they have the benefits of taking leaves without getting fired and the mortality rate is almost nil due to better workspace and less exhaustion.
What type of job would you have had in the late 19th or early 20th century? How does that compare to the career you have planned today?
Perhaps in the 19th or 20th Century I would have worked in a steel or raw materials’ factory where I would try to learn the technical aspects of the job, as the industry was the mainstream work in the day. I would spend a good part of my day at work doing routine work and trying to improve myself for perhaps getting a promotion and moving on to the next stage in work. Compared to my ambition today, I wish to become a researcher and would like to contribute some of my findings to the world, perhaps add my knowledge to pre-existing work or come up with something new. In the meantime, I could teach or work elsewhere to earn a decent livelihood which would not interfere with my learning skills, rather add to them productively.
Clayton, David. (2013). Just how bad were working conditions in the 19th Century? Catholic Exchange. Retrieved from http://catholicexchange.com/just-how-bad- were-working-conditions-in-the-19th-century
The Struggle of Labor. (2012). American History. University of Groningen. Retrieved from http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/outlines/history-1994/discontent-and-reform/the- struggle-of-labor.php