Reflection on a Career

Baltimore Sun

Jonathan Beckerman

Dec 25, 1850

It is not easy to sum up 50 years of study, reporting, immersion in such a huge aspect of life in the United States. After spending your life following a story you almost don’t want there to be an end, you find yourself wishing that it could have just one more twist for you to study. Though my story can never really end, I have found myself at the extremity of my journey with it. There are so many things that I learned about factories, our country and the people who struggle everyday, unseen. I have witnessed one of the biggest changes to our great country that will ever happen in my lifetime. I learned about the factory systems birth and how it took over our nation, for better or for worse, what made it flourish and what eventually cause it to have a dramatic and permanent change. There is no way to cover everything I have learned in a single idea, but there is one that seems to stand out more than the rest. That no matter what happens to the economy, jobs and lifestyle of the people, they will always adapt, they have to. Rural workers adjusted from the domestic system to the new and flawed factory system. The factory system only asked for women, so the women of America stepped up. This was the funimation of what I learned about Americans   and what the central ideal of the American workforce is. Refusal to quit despite the circumstance, obstacles or opposition.

Covering such a broad topic as the factory system and how it affected peoples live leaves a lot to be not said. There is just too much to cover but there are some things, images and writings that can help you see the determination of a nation to endure. This image, for me, gives one a window into what ones of these factories would be like. Seeing these boys, dwarfed in comparison to the machinery they work, reminds me that factories did as much bad as good. These boys would spend upwards of 12 hours in these factories and they would lose the chance to truly grow up. I think it is important for those who are not involved with this system to understand that it has changed our country forever. The lives of the citizens of a country are forever tied to the fate of their country. The factories are a perfect example of this. The social and economic changes that took place forced all working class Americans to adapt. They had the choice to lose their jobs and try to feed their families in some other way, or they could fight and reconstruct their style of work. It is usually the people who dictate changes of a social and economic nature but when the roles are reversed there are always consequences.


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