Age of Reform

During the Age of Reform the US economy shifted from its agricultural base to an industrial one. There were many things wrong with social issues at this time of Reform. There were three very important social problems during the Age of Reform. These reforms also changed the way American society is today. One social issue is tenements. Tenements were very popular at this time because immigration was increasing the population of America. One very famous reformer against tenement living was Jacob Iris. Jacob Iris was a reporter during the time of Reform. He took pictures of how awful the tenements were.

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According to document 9, you can see a very small room crowded with 6 people living in it. If u look on the left of the picture you will see their belongings. There was not a lot of room to put things either. Tenements were also filled with rats and most didn’t have heat or running water. According to document 10, Jacob Iris stated in How the Other Half Lives how there were 36 families in a typical tenement apartment. He said there were 58 babies and about 38 children. Jacob Iris is one of the people who helped to change these living conditions of tenements.

Eventually a law was passed that stated how an apartment must have running water and heat. This law also helped diseases not spread anymore because now they have running water and heat. Another major social issue is child labor. Child labor forced young children to do work that was unsafe and could’ve easily killed children. Child labor concerned many during the Age of Reform. According to document 5, the kids are supposed to work from 3:30 am until 5:00 pm that’s 13 and a half hours a day. Not even adults today work that much! According to document 6, by 1916 41 states barred the employment of children under the age of 14. More states barred night work for children under the age of 16. If it weren’t for the reformers children will be working today and receive very little or no education at all! Eventually in 1904 the National Child Labor Committee was developed in order to help children get an education at a young age by shortening the hours of work from 13 hours to 8 hours. The last major social issue is meat packing conditions. No one knew how dirty the meat packing was until in 1906 when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. It focused the nation’s attention on immigration workers in the meatpacking industry.

According to document 7, he stated that ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of waste of the plants, that would be dumped in the cellar and left there. Its says that they cleaned the waste barrels every spring. In the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water-and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into he hoppers with the fresh meat, and sent out to the publics breakfast. Also from The Jungle he stated that there would be meat stored in great piles in rooms and the water form leaky roofs would drip over it, and husbands of rats would race about on it.

One thing that concerned the workers more poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then the rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together. There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. In conclusion, now you know the problems America was facing during the Age of Reform. These problems seem so bad to people today but it was normal for people back then.

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