Industrialization and Captains of Industry

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How does learning about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire enhance understanding of the early 20th-century industrial age?

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Looking at the conditions in the factory prior to the fire helps us understand how little the employers knew, cared, or thought about the potential risks in the system they were developing. The complete and only focus was on producing as much as possible with as little overhead expense as possible.

In the aftermath of the fire, employers were forced to understand that there are other considerations that have to be addressed. Worker safety, factory construction needs, and other reforms were forced upon industry in the wake of the tragedy.

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I agree with both previous posters, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was a real watershed moment. It led to New York safety legislation as well as increased union activity in the garment industry. Reforms in New York eventually became models for the rest of the country. The callousness of the owners, even after the disaster, shocked many Americans, giving ammunition to those who criticized the exploitative nature of labor-management relations in the United States.

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This famous incident helps explain many of the reforms that have occurred in American industries and government in the decades since the fire.  Working conditions such as those endured by the workers then would not be tolerated or legal today, at least in the United States. It was partly because of abuses such as the ones involved in this incident that legal and social reforms became almost inevitable.

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What this helps us to understand is how intransigent the employers were at this time in history.  They did not care enough about the workers to provide them with basic safety precautions.  This shows a complete lack of caring and an unwillingness to be persuaded to treat the workers better.

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