Pros and Cons of the Industrial Revolution



While the American economy was blessed by rapid industrialization, many of America’s people were cursed by it. Americans and people living here suffered for the gain of many booming industries. Children worked in terrible conditions, lowering their life expectancy. Women entered the workforce, but often developed a physiological disorder that caused panic, depression and fatigue. African Americans faced segregation and poverty as a result of industrialization. Native Americans saw violence and had their sacred land stripped away from them. America led in industry but also injury as a result of rapid, unchecked industrialism. 

The rapid industrial revolution that happened during the nineteenth century was both a blessing and a curse. The industrial development blessed the American economy but cursed the people of America. During the development of  Big Business, wage laborers struggled to form unions and advocate for their well-being. Power and money-hungry capitalists exploited workers and customers, worked unethically and broke several laws. The industrialization of the U.S. created dangerous working conditions, especially for child laborers. These poor working conditions gave working American people the curse of respiratory diseases in clothing mills, increased risk of injury while working on the railroad, and railroad workers were injured or killed on the job frequently, and a physiological condition of Neurasthenia to working women.

The rapid and unchecked industrialization cursed people in the South. Education in the South did not prosper as it had in the North. As the South tried to rebuild after the Civil War, they still relied on the North for manufactured goods. The South tried to keep the blessings from cotton they had seen pre-Civil War, but couldn't make much profit since the market had gone down. In addition to losing its most booming industry, the South went into severe poverty. Due to this poverty, land became extremely difficult to buy. A crop-linen bartering economy developed. Through this bartering economy Black people did not see any real change as the South tried to rebuild. They still worked on properties that they didn't own and were still expected to do massive amounts of work for little to no profit. Along with the hardships of poverty, “Jim Crow” laws were enacted in the South, stunting Black economic growth. With the Jim Crow laws came heightened racist violence. Black men accused of crimes were brutally tortured for White families to watch as entertainment.

Similar to Black people, Native Americans also saw violence and increased turmoil with White people due to rapid industry growth. Native American land was taken as a way for industrial America to pay for their Transcontinental Railroads. On top of having sacred land taken, tensions between Indigenous people and American industrialists grew. This tension eventually led to broken agreements and the “Indian Wars”. Both White people and Indigenous people violently attacked each other. In the summer of 1862, a group of Sioux warriors murdered 644 White settlers in the Minnesota Valley. Nearly two years later, John Evans ordered that White people “kill and destroy hostile Indians on the plains.” In addition to this, he persuaded other Native Americans to gather at places of safety, where they were promised protection. Despite his promises, on November 29, 1864, 700 untrained militiamen attacked a group of Cheyennes and Arapahos. Over the span of seven hours, these men murdered 165 Native Americans.