Bell - Rebecca Kennedy Professor Ruck TA : Lars Peterson...

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Rebecca Kennedy Professor Ruck TA : Lars Peterson 1:00 Fri. Recitation February 14, 2008 Horatio Union Alger The rise of industrial capitalism paved the way for the age of steel, the railroad boom, and large scale enterprise which are all topics in America: A concise History. While industrial expansion was beneficial for members of society such as Carnegie and Rockefeller it was built upon the exploitation of laborers such as the laborers discussed in Out of This Furnace written by Thomas Bell. The United States of America is known to stress the power in the individual. For example, the Horatio Alger story of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, glorifies individualism as a means of getting ahead. However, it is important when looking at history to recognize the power and effectiveness of united communities. The immigrants portrayed in Bell and Henretta rely on their individual efforts to act collectively in the formation of unions in order for their personal aspirations to come to fruition. Through individual and collaborative endeavors in the workplace, at home, in the community, and in politics the immigrants described are able to fully develop their own place in society. If the progress of the depicted immigrants is analyzed particularly in the workplace it is plain to see that it was self determination, hard work, dedication, and a motivated morale that fueled development. However, the fruits of individual labor would never have been realized had it not been in conjunction with the opportunity granted via unionizing labor. The characteristics
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Kennedy 2 that each generation in the novel had in common were the ideals previously mentioned. The variable between the controls would be the work situation, especially in the realm of workers’ rights. In essence, as the individuals throughout time possessed the same qualities of someone hardworking, the socioeconomic conditions changed gradually over time. The “new” Amierican immigrants consisted of Poles, Slovaks, and all other ethnic Slavs suffered much prejudice and discrimination from their other immigrant counterparts, the “old” immigrants, (Henretta 517). “Blast-furnace jobs, a job-seeking investigator heard, were ‘Hunky Work,’ not suitable for him
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Bell - Rebecca Kennedy Professor Ruck TA : Lars Peterson...

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