11. The 40 Hour Workweek Battle
Believe it or not, the average workday was eight hours in the Middle Ages. (It jumped to 14 hours during the Industrial Revolution.) In the 1830s, President Martin Van Buren signed an executive order bringing the tradesman's workday down to ten hours, tops. But that was only for the manual laborers; the rest of the country still suffered around the clock for pennies.
A 1938 bill made the 40-hour workweek the standard in America, which we have had ever since. But according to an interview with Indiana University, Steven Ashby of the Department of Labor Studies believes "there is a big push in industry and hospitals to move to the 12-hour shift, with no overtime pay after eight hours. All the studies show that this leads to more health problems and accidents."