What were working conditions like between 1820 and 1860?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Working conditions changed between 1820-1860. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many workers worked in small, worker-friendly environments. The workers and owners knew each other and often knew their families. Many workers enjoyed a very good working relationship with the owners of the business.

When the Industrial Revolution arrived, workers went to work in large factories. This changed the working relationship greatly. There were many workers working in the factories. The workers often didn’t know each other, and they certainly didn’t know the owners. Working conditions deteriorated. They worked long hours for low pay. There were no health and safety regulations. As a result, it was common for workers to be injured on the job. If they got hurt, they were often replaced without any compensation. There were also kids working in the factories instead of going to school.

The poor working conditions led to the development of labor unions. The labor unions tried to help workers improve their working conditions and improve their level of pay. Between 1820-1860, many workers had poor working conditions.