Impact of Big Business on Politics and the Economy Essay

849 WordsNov 28, 20124 Pages
After the Civil war, large businesses ruled America. Prior to the industrial revolution, the government upheld a hands-off approach towards business. Under the laissez-faire principle, free, unregulated markets led to competition, yet this system suffered under the wrath of growing corporations. The impact of big business on the economy and politics was immense during 1870 to 1899. Corporations were growing significantly in number and size, which had a domineering affect on American economy and defined American life. The growing corporations in America dominated most of the economy, creating a large gap between the rich and the poor. During this time period food, lightening, and fuel prices declined significantly, and the cost of living…show more content…
This illustrates that the Senate is controlled by big business, and how easily wealthy people had power over the government. Moreover, the railroad presidents were seen as kings, they could delay lawsuits, control the government and the people, corrupt communities, and control the press (DOC B). Important railroad companies dictated government policies because the legal system favored railroad interests. Further, trying to better the political system, the Populist Party made themselves known. Their platform demanded that the government be restored to the hands of the “plain people.” They wanted to end oppression, injustice, and poverty (DOC F). Evidently, they were dedicated to political and social reform, and urged that the government be strengthened and take responsibility of the people. The harsh working conditions resulting from industrialization drove laborers to organize into unions. Economist David A. Wells compares working in a factory to working in the military because workers are taught to perform one single task. Moreover, manufacturing has largely taken away workers’ pride in their work (DOC C). Mass production techniques led to specialization of labor, which subsequently decreased workers’ pride in their craft, as well as left workers largely unskilled. Further Samuel Gompers, founder of the AF to L, addressed the International Labor Congress in Chicago and stated that people should not be considered property. He advocated that labor

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