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Workplace Transparency in 1776

annaliza at kununu

In honor of Independence day we decided to take a look back at how much the workplace has changed since America’s beginning in 1776. What was the workplace like? Who had the job all of  our revolutionary brethren were fighting over? And which jobs stood near the bottom. Fueled by this Wall Street Journal article, we were able to catch a glimpse of the jobs landscape. Standing at the top were the plantation owners of the south, and the merchants of the north; these jobs belonged to icons like George Washington (one of the souths most successful planters) and John Hancock. After this were the lawyers and the tavern keepers both pulling in the equivalent today of around $100,000 annually. Lying at the bottom however was the surprise. The doctors and dentists in 1776 were paid, comparatively, very little for their services. If only they could see the salaries today.


Taking a look back at industry and workplace as a whole reveals trends that were far more favorable than the ones we deal with today. Back at our foundation, America had a thriving middle-class made up of well-to-do farmers, artisans and skilled craftsmen who were able to send their goods across the world and even send their kids to private school. Something middle-class Americans struggle mightily with today. However, wealth disparity between classes still existed, especially in the South where the top 10% of the population had ownership of 75% of the wealth.

How does todays workplace stack up to that of our forefathers? Does history continue to repeat itself? Could you have toughed it out as a doctor or tavern keeper in 1776? Or would you rather your job now? Let  us know by leaving a review!