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Summaries Industrial Age

Growth and Consolidation: Many industrialists often pursued horizontal integration in the form of buying other people’s corporation’s stock. A firm that bought out all its competitors could obtain a monopoly or in this case, the complete control over the industry’s production, wages, and prices. One way people created a monopoly was to set up a cooperation that only bought other company’s stock. J.P Morgan made his company, United States Steel one of the most successful companies in buying other companies. Rockefeller joined the other companies through trust agreements. Through this, he owned and controlled all of the oil industries in America.

Rockefeller and the “Robber Barons”: Rockefeller was one of the “Robber Barons” and he owns the company Standard Oil in Ohio. At first the company only owned two to three percent of the country’s crude oil. Under ten years, he was able to control ninety percent of the refining business. He was able to get a lot of profit by paying low wages to his workers and driving his competitors out of business by selling his oil at a price so low that no other company could compete with it. With his money that he donated, he established the Rockefeller Foundation which found the University of Chicago and a medical institute that helped cure yellow fever.

Sherman Antitrust Act: This act made it illegal to form a trust that interfered with free trade between states or with other countries. Prosecuting companies under the Sherman act wasn’t easy but because the act didn’t clearly state the terms such as “trust”. Standard Oil felt pressure from the government and they simply reorganized into separate corporations. The Supreme Court made seven of the eight cases the federal government brought against trusts. Eventually the government stopped using this act.

Long Hours and Danger: One of the largest employers, the steel mills, often demanded a seven-day workweek. Factory workers in most industries worked 12 or more hours a day, six days a week. Employees weren’t entitled to vacation, sick leave, unemployment compensation, or reimbursements for injuries suffered on the job. The work environment was dirty, poorly ventilated in the factories; workers had to perform repetitive, mind dulling tasks, sometimes with dangerous or faulty equipment. Twenty percent of the boys and ten percent of the girls were under fifteen.

Craft Unionism: One approach to the organization of labor was craft unionism, which included skilled workers from one or more trades. Samuel Gompers led the Cigar Makers’ International Union to join with other craft unions in 1886. The American Federation of Labor focused on collective bargaining between representatives of labor and management, to reach written agreements on wages, hours, and working conditions. Between 1890 and 1915, the average weekly wages in unionized industries rose from $17.50 to $24, and the average workweek fell from almost 54.5 hours to under 49 hours. Industrial Unionism: Some labor leaders felt that unions should include all laborers both skilled and unskilled workers to specific industries. This concept captured the imagination of Eugene V. Debs, who attempted to form such an industrial union which he called the American Railway Union. Most of the Union’s members were unskilled and sort of skilled laborers, but skilled engineers and fire men joined too. Though the ARU, like the Knights of Labor, they never recovered after the failure of a major strike, it added to the momentum of union organizing.

but membership never topped 100. The IWW welcomed African Americans.Socialism and the IWW: In an attempt to solve the problems faced by workers. Eugene Debs and some other labor activists eventually turned to socialism. three thousand people3 gathered at Chicago’s Haymarket Square to protest police brutality a striker had been killed and several had been wounded at the McCormick Harvester plant the day before.000. 1886. Social ism carried to its extreme form would result in the overthrow of the capitalist system. The Industrial Workers of the World or the Wobblies had jobs such as mining. cutting down trees. The Haymarket Affair: This affair was encouraged by the impact of the 1877 strike. After the Haymarket affair. Its only major strike victory occurred in 1912. the public began to turn against the labor movement. seven officers and several workers died in this demonstration and five other radicals were charged with inciting a riot. an economic and political system based on government control of business and property and equal distribution of wealth. A bomb was tossed into the police line. cannery and dock working. . labor leaders continued to press for change. The police fired on the workers. On the evening of May 4th.