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3. Reform for Workers
About this Lecture
In this module, we examine how reform was achieved in these decades for workers. This was largely the result of the efforts of new labour unions who demanded eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for "what we will". This rhetoric produced profound changes within American society that led to individuals refusing to let their work define them and producing a flourishing new entertainment sector as a result. In addition, economic reform was also developed by agrarians, utopians, socialists, and religious advocates who championed the idea of the Social Gospel which tried to install Christian values into what they saw as a sometimes brutal capitalist economy.
In this course, Professor Susan Curtis (Purdue University) explains how different reform movements responded to the rise of industrial capitalism in the Gilded Age. In the first three modules, we look at this through the lens of the economy - examining the changes that occurred as a result of the industrial revolution, the reasons reform was needed and then what workers did to initiate reform. In the next two modules we explore how the United States changed for women in these years and why reform was needed as a result. After this, we explore why political reform was needed in this era and what reform was passed as a result. Finally we examine the issues of race relations - the area where reform was needed most but where none came.
Susan Curtis in Emeritus Professor of History and American Studies at Purdue University. She specialises in the History of American culture, religion, and race relations; and is the author of four books - A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture (1991): Dancing to a Black Man's Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin (1994); The First Black Actors on the Great White Way (1998); and Colored Memories: A Biographer's Quest for the Elusive Lester A. Walton (2008).
Cite this Lecture
Curtis, S. (2021, November 18). US History – Reform in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900 - Reform for Workers [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/us-history-reform-in-the-gilded-age-1870-1900/reform-for-workers
Curtis, S. "US History – Reform in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900 – Reform for Workers." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/us-history-reform-in-the-gilded-age-1870-1900/reform-for-workers