Classand Community Book Review
Undoubtedly,the emergence of factory system led to the rise of capitalism and thecreation of civil rights unions. In the pursuit of equal rights, theLynn Shoemakers advocated for fair labor systems in the factories.This movement effects were widely felt then and would eventuallyspread all over America with any resistance been met by strikes orrevolt.
Theperfect example of capitalism in the 19th century in Lynn,Massachusetts, is the life careers of Micajah Pratt, Ebenezer Breed,and Benjamin Newhall. Firstly, Breed was an enthusiastic merchantwhom constantly searched for shoe market places and shoe rawmaterials. In edging out competition, he impeded hawkers fromobtaining shoes by using his socio-economic influence. Secondly,Pratt, the self-actualized capitalist, was well known for providingaffordable shoes, although his approximately 500 employees duringpeak season highly resented the burden of low prices which wereshifted to wages. Finally, mother`s love can be a motivating factorthis prompted Benjamin Newhall to struggle through manual work untilhe eventually developed into the business of shoemaking. Throughcapitalism, these entrepreneurs succeeded both economically andpersonally as they amassed wealth and owned lucrative shoesenterprises.
Beforethe industrial revolution, Lynn was characterized by a system ofmaster and apprentice relationship with the household as a center ofcommunity and work. Afterward, these relationships were severed theworkers became economically dependent on the factory system. As aresult, the influence of household as the focus of life and workwhich held the community and its populace together in equity wasdiminished. In 1814, the rise of the Mechanics bank that moved to thecentral shop shifted the employers’ balance of power between laborand capital. On the governmental aspect, the political campaign ofGeorge Hood united people across the divisions of the social classesthus serving as a social control tool. Perhaps that was the illusionit was supposed to imply historically, politics is seen as aprotector of exploitation with democratic gloss. Thus, in this case,democracy implies political control.
Theincrease in demand for shoe commodities required technological andcapital-intensive innovations. Manufacturers felt the urge to use thesewing machine technology in order to increment production. Themanufacturer’s possession of capital to purchase shoe sewing toolsas well as raw materials employed to fabricate shoes enabled them togain independence from the merchant. The introduction of technologyled to the replacement of workers and the reduction of wages withoutconsideration of the length of hours worked. Hence, the employeesformed a union exhorting the employers to negotiate the workingconditions. However, the invitation was turned down provoking theemployees to strike for fair pay and labor systems. Consequently,Abraham Lincoln stimulated the manufacturer to increase the wageswithout recognition of the unions. Meantime, police and militiaprevented workers from interfering with shoe shipments. As a resultof his support for the workers’ rights, Lincoln became the firstRepublican president. His presidency strengthened the influence ofRepublican Party free labor policies eliciting a civil war movementin the slaved southern states. The resulting actions triggered thegovernment to realize the need for a strong professional police. Incommemoration of civic rights, City Hall was constructed to symbolizethe struggles of the people of Lynn.
Technologicalinnovations are always capital intensive causing the manual laborerto suffer the consequences. The industrialization of Lynn attracted ahigh number of workers who were searching for job opportunitiesinducing to floating population. As a result, the industrial workersformed Knights of Saint Crispin union in 1868 to help them defendfactory workers against unfavorable working conditions.