Lenz, Megan

Before factories arose and cities followed suit, the process of making an item to sell was tedious and unique to that very article. But, when Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company introduced the concept of Fordism, society changed in many ways. This idea of “Fordism” simply meant the utilization of an assembly line, creating a system of regulation for the mass production of goods where each part knew his respective duty in order to create a cohesive machine. First introduced in the 20th century, Fordism changed factory life and that of the society. When the factory arose in Michigan during the 1920s, the area was not the booming city it would soon grow to be. Since the assembly line process was generally straightforward and not limited to those considered to be skilled workers, the promise of jobs in factories drew a large amount of diverse people from many socio-economic backgrounds into the area, creating the emergence of a city with a large populace made up of different backgrounds, stratifying the societal make-up. Henry Ford did not invent the motor car, but utilized the concept of assembly line production to create a Model T – a sturdy and functional piece of machinery that was affordable by even his own factory workers. This concept signaled modernity, which drove society to strive for more technological discoveries that would be readily available to all citizens to continue to better their area.

Fordism channeled social change in every aspect. Since the assembly workers relied on one another to do their part in order to produce a finished item, the concept of time became a much more regulated and important aspect of society. Along with the stress of importance on time, citizens who worked in the same factory underwent social cohesion, as their schedules were aligned to their work schedules, which both occurred together. Aside from time, the assembly line allowed for national growth, as items were being produced at a rate that was never before possible. Items were also being transported more regularly by steam engines, allowing for the interconnection of one city to another. Fordism allowed every type of worker to have the potential to work in a factory, not just those who fit a certain skill set. This phenomena allowed for the stratification of social classes, ultimately birthing an entirely new class of the working proletariat. This new idea of Fordism ultimately connected the society via time, working conditions, and commonly purchased items. This change sparked from the Industrial Revolution changed society into a more modernistic setting, which was the beginning of our own societies today.