Sample History Essays on Industrialization

In the industrial cities, the living conditions were horrible. This was caused by the polluted air from the smoke of the industries that kept the cities in a constant state of twilight. This forced the residents to use lanterns during the day, as the sunlight was not enough to light their homes. There was a shortage of housing resulting in the overcrowding of houses that brought with it a host of other problems. There was also widespread poverty among the industrial workers despite having to work so hard for long hours in the industries.

The first living condition was the polluted air. The atmosphere of the industrial cities in the united states was in a perennial state of twilight. The smoke that emanated mainly from the steel plants and other industries caused this. The smoke blocked the sun from reaching the surface such that it could only be seen having a coppery appearance during the day (Goldfield and Brownell 186). This had consequences on the people who lived close to the industries and worked in the same industries. The coal that was used in these industries emitted particles in the air and was a cause of much suffering for the residents. Respiratory diseases were common among the population and the infant mortality at an all-time high. This was made worse by the fact that the people and experts at the time were not aware of the dangers that a polluted atmosphere presented to them. The effect of soot from the industries was so apparent that even original color of the buildings and houses in the industrial city could not be determined. In the daytime, the city was ugly in the twilight state, but it was breathtaking at night when the numerous steel mills would spit flames towards the sky lighting up the city in the process. It was not possible to protect the workers and their families from the effects of this smoke. Most of the factories were built adjacent to the housing quarters of the workers. The fact that the workers could not afford the public transport fees that were charged then forced them to live in homes where they could walk into the industries to work. The exposure of their families to the toxic atmosphere was therefore inevitable.

The second living condition was that residents of the industrial city lived in crowded houses and charged exorbitant rent by the slumlords. These overcrowded houses were often infested with vermin that caused unpleasant diseases. Hygiene was also a problem in the houses and instances of dysentery and typhoid were common. The physicians and scientists by then had not pinpointed and the relationship between hygiene and the occurrence of disease. It was still not possible to achieve the required sanitary conditions given the numerous immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world that were coming to America for better lives. These were often crowded together in the slum houses as they searched for the industrial jobs that paid meager wages. There was no operational sewer, with the streets serving as the dumping place by the members of the community. There was an awful smell that emanated from the residential areas as a result of the waste that would pile up on the streets. In addition to the crowding of the houses, they were often dark and poorly ventilated. A home designed for a single family would often end up housing five or more families. This and the poor quality of the air outside made the living conditions of the house increase the mortality rates of the workers and their families (Goldfield and Brownell 194). The working conditions were not good either. The employers used to consider the workers as just another part of their machinery. This made the employer not put in place safety measures in the workplace. Injuries and deaths were common in the industries and the maiming or death of a worker on the job often result in them being replaced promptly so that the work would continue. The industries used to operate for twenty-four hours with each shift working 12 hours per day. The workers were only allowed one day off work, and this meant that one of the groups would have to work for 24 hours to cover the lost shift.

The third living condition that faced the people in the industrial city was poverty. The wages were very little. The low wages were as a result of the supply of labor outstripping the demand. The many immigrants that were coming to the united states added to the labor supply making it difficult for the wages to improve. The men, who were often considered the heads of their household, had to work 12 hours a day and could hardly cater for the expenses of the family that included housing and food. This forced several members of the family to take up jobs in the factories to increase the income of the household (Goldfield and Brownell 192). Women and children would often themselves working alongside the men, though they were paid lower wages compared to the men. The poor household often bought foods and other household necessities at a much higher price per unit compared to the rich households that could buy in bulk. The poor were also victims of altered foods such as milk that would be mixed with formaldehyde to make it fresh for longer and meat that would be treated with red dye to hide its greying color as it got worse. Being poor, therefore, meant that these families had to pay more for foods. Malnourishment of the children was common among the majority poor. Depression would often set in and result in high levels of homicide and suicides in the neighborhoods where the poor resided. The poor population had limited access to pleasure and luxury. The long working hours and lack of adequate money contributed to that. The children that were forced to work to supplement the income of their families would be robbed of their childhood and often had the shortest life expectancy ever experienced in the US (Goldfield and Brownell 195). The young women who started working in the industries would get harassed by their bosses and colleagues. They often ended up as prostitutes in brothels, which was a better paying profession.

In conclusion, the three living conditions in the industrial city include a polluted atmosphere, overcrowded houses, and poverty. The pollution of the air was from the industries that mainly used coal as a source of energy. There was more population than the available housing units could accommodate, while the poverty was caused by the low wages paid by the owners of the industries and factories.



Work Cited

Goldfield, David R., and Blaine A. Brownell. Urban America: A History. Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.