The Government's Involvement With The Daily Life Of American Citizens

1393 words - 6 pages

In America, the debate over the warranted degree of government involvement in one’s daily life is ever-present. As citizens, Americans demand protection and security from our leaders. In return, they provide capital, ingenuity, and a responsibility to society. As can especially be seen in the current time of recession and bailouts, citizens rely on the government to regulate and stabilize of our economy - to act on behalf of their wellbeing. However, this has not always been the case. Subsequent to western expansion, the government was hesitant to impose regulations upon its citizens, especially in relation to their economic pursuits. Political leaders relied on powerful businessmen’s’ support for occupational security - so formed the governments, “unobtrusive” laissez faire policies. Reinforced by laissez faire policies, immigration in the late nineteenth century exacerbated the worst aspects of American capitalism, undermining the citizen’s ability to reach interdependent prosperity. At the turn of the twentieth century, the industrialization of America introduced revolutionary technology to American cities, posing hazards to workers and craftsmen.
America was bustling with innovations: a newly expanded system of railroads, expediting westward expansion, as well as novel means of personal transportation allowing flourishing cities to expand as well as widening the cap between the rich and poor. Cities were at “the height of modernization for the time, with skyscrapers, electric trolleys, department stores, bridges, bicycles, indoor plumbing, telephones, and electric lamps.” There was a surplus of inspirited entrepreneurs’ and hopeful farmers. Citizens began to look for “new wonders” in the world and migrated to the heart of the cooperate world – the cities. Such led to the creation of the Bessemer process provided the first organized system of industrial mass production, which ignited the “American system of manufacturing” , by instituting a “division of labor” which could be supervised “in one place” . Throwing to the wind the artistry of craftsmanship. . The mind frame of American capitalism was forever altered - from one that cherished the creativity and or dexterity of labor, to one, which manipulated and oversimplified the division of labor in order to maximize profit. In expanding cities, Big business’, the corporate world, began to dominate the market. The trade a craftsman once took pride in became dismembered – each man allowed assembly of only a fraction of the product. The prosperity of the corporation undermined that of the individual. Such reforms of the work process created an abundance of profitable businesses. Despite the fact that workers risked their lives in the industrial environment they received lower wages, as the available jobs required little skill. The average factory worker had to work “15 to 18” hours a day in order to earn a “living wage” in 1860. All the while the government disregarded...

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