Interpretations for My Poem!
Thanks to all who posted their interpretations for my poem! It was such a good turn out to the experiment and you all had such wonderful ideas! I love reading what you guys have to say, and it means so much to me that you are willing to share your ideas!
The Gilded Age
So without further ado, let me explain!
I'm taking US history right now, and we just finished up the Gilded Age, which was a period of time that immediately followed the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the country was having trouble dealing with the large industries that were springing up and employing thousands of workers.
Before this time, business was conducted on a local scale, for example, the butcher shop down town was run by the butcher and a few workers whom he worked side by side with. The owner's needs were the same as the employees and the state and federal governments weren't really needed to regulate business.
Remember, the Federal government can only regulate interstate commerce, so it can't legally interfere with business that is contained within a state's borders.
Anywho, there were all these big companies that the government had little experience dealing with. The factories were hot, crowded, and dangerous; workers were forced to labor long hours for little pay. And labor was easily replaceable. To the head of the company, a single worker is a cheap price.
Which is why Unions and strikes became prominent. Rising from the dregs of the factories, unskilled labor worked together, and unified to demand safety, compensation for dangerous conditions, proper pay, and time to be with their families. Riots broke out in the streets, and heads of companies such as Henry Ford, Andre Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller resisted unions with an iron hand. Local police would gun down trespasser on company ground.
Strikers went without pay, and home to hungry families.
Just when the strikers held up the line long enough to have their needs considered, the Federal government stepped in.
Afterall, the Feds were only doing their job: regulating interstate commerce.
Thus, the Unions were broken through trickery and force, and labor was left to fend for itself in the hazardous conditions of the factories.
That's what my poem is about, although, I can see how it is applicable to many, many historical situations. It took a long time (up to the progressive era) for unionists to gain the Federal government's favor, but it happened eventually. The federal government had to come up with firmer policies for the businesses (which is why we have things like the FDA and EPA today). Businesses always have their tricked though. Capitalism is never safe, but neither is socialism.
Looking forward to today, the world is unprepared for dealing with international commerce in the same way the United States was unprepared to deal with interstate commerce during the Gilded age. It took the Federal government to help, but are we willing to give the UN the power to fix our international economic problems? Is that a freedom we are willing to lose? Or is it all for our own good?
As a student, I can't say I have the answer. I don't even think my teachers have the answer.
Anyhow, the poem I wrote was to express my thoughts on this subject, as well as to give a new voice to the unionists , so that we can be aware of these issues today.
Thank-you so much to everyone who commented. Please, write your thoughts in the comments below. I have so many new historical topics to search up because of your interpretations, as well as modern issues, psychological and sociological issue to learn about as well.
Unions are still hard to come by today, and are easily broken.