What impact did industrialization have on the lives of Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s?

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In the time period that you ask about, industrialization affected different Americans in different ways.  Industrialization made life difficult for some Americans, particularly the working class people who staffed the factories.  On the other hand, industrialization helped many Americans by making more products available to them.

When we think about the impacts of industrialization, we generally think about people working in factories in very poor conditions.  We think about poor immigrants like those portrayed in The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.  These people did suffer because of industrialization.  They worked long hours in factories that were often dangerous.  They did not get paid well and received few benefits.  Because the pool of labor was so large, these workers had little leverage and therefore led rather difficult lives.  Industrialization did give them jobs, but it affected them by ensuring that those jobs were unpleasant and often dangerous.

While industrialization hurt these people, it also brought benefits for many Americans.  Before industrialization, there were fewer consumer goods available and not as many Americans could afford them.  As the country became more industrialized, factory-made consumer goods got cheaper and cheaper.  People could afford to buy more things and could even get them delivered (as when they would buy from Sears Roebuck) using the extensive train system that industrialization made possible.  Without industrialization, these people would have been living as they did in the 1840s or 1850s, with very few consumer goods and a generally lower standard of living.

In these ways, industrialization in this time (like globalization today) affected different people in different ways.

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