HIST 1312-011 History of the United States Since 1865
Dr. Kenyon Zimmer
February 26, 2013
The common folk of Europe in the 1900s suffered from many hardships in their home country. Some of these people, mainly the minority also known as European immigrants, typically left their home country to escape the endless poverty and oppression or to make money in America to send back to their families. However, they faced different hardships once they arrived in the New World. Typically, they faced many social, economic, and political hardships such as discrimination, poor working conditions, and laws preventing them to advance when they arrived in America. These European immigrants tried to ...view middle of the document...
They would remain laid off unless the union agreed to accept the wage cuts as well as the longer work hours. These unsuccessful strikes, such as the Homestead Strike and the Pullman strike which failed because of court injunctions and involvement of the federal troops, would lead to inflation, wage cuts, or job losses. Often, immigrants would have to work longer hours to compensate for these consequences, as seen with Kracha and Dubik.
Seeing how strikes were counter intuitive and not advantageous they resorted to another method. This method, which immigrants often took thinking to improve their lives economically, was taking chances in investments and staring up their own business. Some immigrants like Henry Ford, who started Ford Motor Company, were successfully with their business. Others like George Kracha were not so fortunate. George Kracha started a butcher business and although businesses thrived initially, Kracha would slowly lose to the rising competition as well as the established competition such as the Hungarian Jewish butcher named Spetz who opened a butcher shop a few doors down from Kracha’s meat shop. George Kracha’s business began to suffer even more due to his affair with Zuska. Many respectable housewives would not deal with him. Since many of them have boarders, this affected George Kracha’s business significantly. He also had problems with the bank over the lots he bought in eagerness of the railroad expansion. Many immigrants and the American born children of these immigrants later found that it was hard to improve their economic status in America.
The immigrant’s health was greatly at risk while working. Safety precautions at the workplace were not legally needed, because of this injuries occurred often due to the lack of these safety precautions. One such example of this is the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Although it was not the worst fire accident in American history, it raised awareness about unsafe working conditions and the barbaric treatment of workers from their employers. The immigrants could not sue companies for any injury they acquired from working because there was no law mandating safety precautions. Another example of the dangers of working in places without safety precautions was seen in Out of this Furnace where many men, including Joe Dubik, are injured by an explosion in the steel mills. “Officially, it was put down as an accident, impossible to foresee or prevent. In a larger sense it was the result of greed, and part of the education of the American steel industry.” Mike Dobrejcak, who married Mary Kracha, was also another character that was killed in an accident at the steel mill. George Kracha had to deliver the news of Dobrejcak’s death to his daughter, Mary, who received $1,300 dollars from the company that employed her husband as compensation.
Despite the knowledge of the many hazards the work place possessed, many workers still continued working in dangerous conditions to provide...