Triangle Shirt Waist Factory

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U.S. History 10/14/2011 MW 12:00-1:55p Horrifying working conditions was not a rarity during the Progressive Era, especially for the many garment industries growing during this time. Filled with mostly young women, these sweat shop-like businesses were a popular workplace for unwed, immigrant women. Unfortunately, the rights’ of women and other garment employees were absent, leaving them in some of the most unsafe working conditions during the twentieth century. Not until March 25, 1911, when a tragic fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan leaving many workers with no exit but death, did the public see a need for drastic changes in the work place. With laissez-faire and social Darwinism, the government had no demand to interfere with big businesses, allowing them to make their own rules, safety conditions, and handle employees as they please. As a result, employees were faced with owners who no concern about their livelihood. The government did not have a responsibility to maintain safety standards, such as emergency exits, adequate fire hoses, and water source inside the buildings. Leaving these ‘burdens’ on factory owners meant safety measures were never taken. On March 25, 1911 when a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, many young women and men were then trapped and had no escape. The government had closed its eyes to fire safety and working conditions until it was forced to witness burning bodies smack the ground one after the other. If the government had taken a responsibility to maintain safety regulations within these factories, over a hundred young women and men would not have seen their death so soon. After the fire, a series of intense changes, reforms, and laws had unfolded providing and requiring many safety, human right, and labor changes. Not until hundreds of people had to endure extreme suffering did

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