outline_for_plight_of_Gilded_Age_workers

Outline_for_plight_o - PLIGHT OF GILDED AGE WORKERS 1870-1900 STORY OF THE CZOLGOCZ FAMILY MAIN THEMES FOR WORK& LIFE EXPERIENCES OF GILDED AGE

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: PLIGHT OF GILDED AGE WORKERS, 1870-1900 STORY OF THE CZOLGOCZ FAMILY MAIN THEMES FOR WORK & LIFE EXPERIENCES OF GILDED AGE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS --1) workers lived very hard, physically enervating lives--with high rate of geographic mobility --2) workers labored at multiplicity of jobs, with bulk of jobs of unskilled & semi-skilled variety --3) with tremendous sacrifice & self-discipline, some working class families were able to experience periods of "getting ahead" --4) workers' families (even more?) readily experienced horrible financial reversals, largely due to circumstances beyond their control --5) employers / large corporations held disproportionate economic power & leverage over mass of workers ---workers' control over their economic fates was decidedly limited --6) this sense of vulnerability was especially acute for new immigrant & "minority" workers DID THE NEW INDUSTRIAL AGE, ON THE WHOLE, MAKE LIFE BETTER OR WORSE FOR THE NATION'S WORKERS? 2 DEFINITIONS FOR WORKERS' WELFARE: "STANDARD OF LIVING"--focus on workers' purchasing power "WAY OF LIFE"--focus on less tangible, quantitative factors (such as workers' "status" & sense of vulnerability; job fulfillment) WORKERS' PURCHASING POWER INCREASED --mostly due to falling prices (cost of living fell by 20% from 1870 to 1900) --1860-1900: real wages increased by 50% (skilled workers 75%; unskilled 31%) INCREASE IN AGGREGATE INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT ---from 1870, 5X increase (chiefly in semi-skilled work) LEVASSEUR'S "3 INDISPUTABLE FACTS" --"total number of [industrial] workers far from having diminished, has steadily increased"; --"increase in average [money] wages" paid to laborers; --steady fall in "price of goods is advantageous to consumer among whom are....wage-earners" NEW MACHINERY ALTERED THE NATURE OF WORK & DEVALUED WORKERS' SKILLS --story of Carnegie Steel's undercutting steelworkers' union through intro. of open-hearth-machinery DECLINING WORKERS' "STATUS" "AMERICAN DREAM OF SUCCESS"?: KESSNER'S CASE STUDY OF LATE 19TH C. NEW YORK CITY considering the upward mobility rates of Russian Jews vs. Italians --which immigrant group "moved up" occupational ladder more quickly? (upward mobility rate of Russian Jews 2X that of Italians) KESSNER'S DEFINITION OF UPWARD MOBILITY: successfully moving from "blue collar" to "white collar" work WHITE COLLAR WORK _____________________________________________________ _ BLUE COLLAR WORK Rung #3 --- skilled labor (where Jews entered) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rung #2 --- semi-skilled labor -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rung #1 --- manual labor (where Italians entered) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMPARISON OF TWO FAMILY BUDGETS --Of the two families considered below, which one was doing better in "getting ahead"? Saving & building up "capital"? 1884 FAMILY BUDGET OF AMERICAN PRINTER Five members in the family: husband & wife, three children (two boys and a girl, aged 5, 9, & 16 respectively). Occupy a house containing four rooms. EARNINGS: OF FATHER OF GIRL, 16 yrs. old TOTAL FOOD: $580 $150 $730 Breakfast coffee, meat & potatoes Dinner ---- lunch Supper ---- tea, meat, sauce etc. RENT FUEL MEAT, GROCERIES CLOTHING, DRY GOODS BOOKS UNION DUES SICKNESS SUNDRIES TOTAL $120 $30 $300 $100 $25 $6 $19 $100 $720 COST OF LIVING: 1884 FAMILY BUDGET OF ITALIAN LABORER Five members in the family: husband & wife and three children, all boys (ages 1-5). Live in one room. EARNINGS: OF FATHER TOTAL FOOD: Breakfast coffee, bread Dinner ---- soups Supper ---- coffee, bread RENT FUEL MEAT, GROCERIES CLOTHING, DRY GOODS SICKNESS TOTAL $48 $5 $100 $15 $5 $173 $270 $270 COST OF LIVING: ...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course HIST 021 taught by Professor Coohill during the Spring '07 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online