Analysis Of The History And Legacy Of Homestead

1593 Words7 Pages
Carnegie County: An Analysis of the History and Legacy of Homestead At the culmination of the nineteenth century in the United States, industrialization was transforming cities at a lightning pace. With a flurry of immigration and expansion, urban populations were multiplying by the decade, at a rate twice the speed of the total American population. In 1860, the city of Chicago had a mere 100,000 residents but by 1890 had exploded to harbor over one million people. Immigration from southern and eastern Europe had skyrocketed over these few decades, bringing a new working class and a new backbone for the American industrial economy. This burgeoning industrial system proved to be very attractive for immigrants across the globe, drawing in…show more content…
One such industrialist was Andrew Carnegie, who capitalized on the expansion of cities and the rail system by building an empire in steel. The success of Carnegie’s operations provided largescale employment opportunities for European immigrants, but these opportunities came at a cost. Factory work was a nearly completely unregulated industry, demanding long hours in increasingly dangerous conditions for incredibly low wages. Carnegie and others began replacing skilled laborers with heavy machinery to cut costs, opening the door for unskilled immigrant workers to run the machines. Work for these unskilled laborers was treacherous to say the least, with little to no precautions taken for employee safety and heavy machinery that would be considered death traps in today’s industries, staying alive was a daily struggle. Around this time, it was estimated that industrial accidents alone accounted for around 35,000 deaths per year. As industrialism continued to expand, it spread outside of major cities and soon, mill towns began dotting the landscape outside of industrial hubs like Pittsburgh. Following in the tradition of industrial factories, these mill towns were often built up carelessly, with living and working conditions placed on the back burner in favor of increased profits. One such town, Homestead, was the center of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire. Built on the Monongahela River just eight miles outside of Pittsburgh, Homestead had around 12,000
Open Document