21H.102 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate

American History Since 1865

Lecture Notes

Lecture 6 - Capital, Labor, and the Standardization of Work

Main questions

  • What is the relationship between capital and labor?
  • How does standardization, mechanization, and industrialization impact American workers?
  • What did the workplace look like before Taylorism? After Taylorism?

Key concepts and terms

  • Trachtenberg on the “incorporation of America” and the “-izations”:
    • Industrialization (Lowell Mill Girls)
    • Standardization of time / interchangeable parts
    • Mechanization
    • Urbanization and immigration (tenements)
    • Bureaucratization
  • Historical changes in white American identity (e.g. Irish Catholics)
  • 1892 Homestead Strike
  • Eight Hour Workday
  • Self-made man (individualism) vs. the worker (communal solidarity)
  • “Modern Times,” Charlie Chaplin
    • Taylorism
    • Fordism (assembly line interchangeability)
    • Time as the “soul of capital”
    • Autonomy of the worker
    • Human toll of mechanization (getting caught up in the gears of the machinery)
  • Relationship between quantification and standardization

Key individuals

  • Andrew Carnegie (vertical integration)
  • Frederick Taylor (scientific management)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Lecture Notes