Between 1865 and 1900, America was in the midst of its second wave of industrialization which had a dramatic impact on the lives of its workforce. First and foremost, technological innovation, particularly in the textile and engineering industries, centralized the production progress and invented the modern factory. For the typical worker, this created an abundance of jobs in the cities, where industrialization flourished, and prompted an exodus of young people from American's urban communities. The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 made this process even easier: both workers and materials could be quickly transported to a wide range of destinations across the country.
But new machinery and technology came at a high cost to the worker. The risk of accidents was high, waves of immigration kept wages low and strike action caused social and economic upheaval. Life in urban communities was often unsanitary and overcrowded too, which led to the Progressive Movement of the late nineteenth century and a push to improve the health and quality of life of American industrial workers.