Claudia Zelaya

Poverty was a crime during the 1800's because even though America was a Democracy and the Government was suppose to address the common good of the people than individual interests and in this case the corporations, they failed to do so. The government implemented laws that would benefit companies and did little to improve the working conditions. Many workers were working from dawn to midnight and were not getting paid enough. Children were also working extra hours and were often killed for doing dangerous work. Workers didn't like how unfair they were being treated and because of this they formed unions. In the 1800's America was a capitalist enviornment. Where everything was based on competition and the elites controlled America's economy.

The government protected the interest of the companies rather than the rest of the citizens. the book _A People's History of the United States_ illustrates that " the government of the United States was behaving almost exactly as Karl Marx described a capitalist state: pretending neutrality to maintain order, but serving the interests of rich." The government tried to prevent from companies to have total control from other companies and made the **Sherman Anit-trust Act **
that protected "trade and commerce against unlawful restraints" it also made monoply illegal. They tried to make it fair but according to Howard Zinn " How could it be neutral between rich and poor when its members were often former wealthy lawyers, and almost came from upper class?" This is one of the reason why the government defended the interest of companies and little to protect the rest of the people. The job as Government especially justices that interpert the Constitution, is to protect the common good than individual interest. But because the people working in the Government came from elite backgrounds they would often times protect the corporations.

When the European wave of immigration came to America a competition for jobs rose and this led to forming union.

Claudia, this is a great start. You have hit some of the key aspects of the "crime" of poverty as it existed in 19th century America: capitalists' abuse of laborers and the government's complicity in these actions. I'm left wondering, however, how the workers themselves (the victims of the "crime") fought the structures that held them down. You're on the right track at the end when you begin to describe the formation of unions. Add some more to this part of the essay.

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