Disparities, Then and Now


“I can recall, when a child, visiting some sections of the former city, where tenement houses existed, occupied by families who found it almost impossible to make ends meet. Women as well as men became discouraged, often times causing them to take to drink. They would also lower themselves in virtue in order to purchase an existence.”

Bradford Peck, 1900, The World a Department Store, 57,


Here Peck offers a description of the miserable existence of the working classes of late 19 century America.  Out of these miserable conditions spawned the trade unions that, it is argued, have resulted in better wages and quality of life; may be a more equal distribution of wealth.  A complete enumeration of all the social and economic ills Peck cites is less important than the point that disparity existed at the time, and may be more relevant, many continue to this day.  


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