What problems did American workers face in the Industrial Revolution?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

American workers faced many problems during the Industrial Revolution. Many issues centered on the factories where the employees worked. It was very common for workers to spend twelve to fourteen hours a day working. The working conditions were very poor, with many workers suffering injuries on the job or working...

View
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

American workers faced many problems during the Industrial Revolution. Many issues centered on the factories where the employees worked. It was very common for workers to spend twelve to fourteen hours a day working. The working conditions were very poor, with many workers suffering injuries on the job or working in poorly ventilated areas, leading to workers breathing dirty or contaminated air. When workers got hurt, they received no compensation, which often forced children to work to help the family meet the expenses they had to pay. Workers often received very low pay since many people often performed jobs that required few skills.

Another issue workers faced was the overpopulation that existed in the cities. So many people were moving to the cities, either from other countries or from rural areas, to work these factory jobs. As a result, city populations grew quickly, which city governments were often unable to successfully handle. As a result, workers lived in crowded apartments called tenements. Disease, pollution, and crime were some of the issues that these workers faced living in these conditions.

The United States government did little to help workers. The government believed in a laissez-faire policy, which meant the government didn’t get too involved in business practices or in the economy. When workers went on strike, the government usually supported the business owners, causing the strikes to fail. There were virtually no laws passed to protect the workers until the Progressive movement began in the early 1900s.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team