World History 2 155 - 10.3 Coerced and Semicoerced Labor

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the abolition of slavery and serfdom during the Second Industrial Revolution
  • Describe forms of coerced and semicoerced labor that existed during the Second Industrial Revolution

Most workers in industrialized countries during the period of the Second Industrial Revolution were free. “Free” in this context is a relative term, however. Their employers could not buy or sell them or their labor. They were legally able to leave their places of employment if they chose. But the extreme poverty of many workers makes it difficult to think of them as truly free. They toiled for long hours at dangerous jobs they hated because the alternative was homelessness and starvation. Nevertheless, they had advantages and choices, even if limited ones, that many other nineteenth-century workers did not have. For many people, to one degree or another, employers still had the legal right to compel their labor.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 2: from 1400 textbook by Openstax