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Key terms:• knights of labor• American Federation of Labor• Homestead• Populist Platform I. Mechanization A. Skilled jobs no longer needed because of factories B. Farmers competing on a larger scale C. They believed it was unfair, because big-business owners and politicians had much more power and influence D. Attempt by laborers and farmers to work together to find solutions to this problem - strike E. Why are so many workers unhappy? 1. places they work are incredibly unsafe - 19th century U.S. had the worlds' largest number of industrial accidents 2. work is irregular, factories start up and shut down 3. inclement weather, seasonal unemployment 4. not earning much money, avg. male worker earns $400-$500/year (send wife, kids out to work in factories - child labor) F. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory 1. lower Manhattan - best quality shirts 2. typical work day is 14 hrs, earn $2/day but you had to pay for electricity needles and threads you used at work 3. fire breaks out on 8th floor, fire escape doors were locked by managers so no one could escape 4.150 women and children trapped, they decide to jump but land on wrought iron fence with spikes manager had put up 5. one of the worst industrial accidents in history 6. no safety regulations, no good fire department 7. incidents like this cause people to want to strike G. Erosion of worker autonomy 1. workers have no say in how much/what is produced 2. "wage slaves" H. Labor organizations 1. try to get into politics to change the system, political party called "labor party" 2. they always lose elections 3. so they decide to use direct action so people can't ignore them/pay attention to them = strike I. Strikes 1. Railroad strike, Baltimore 1877 a. wages cut by 35% b. decide to go on strike that spreads throughout the country because railroads cover the whole country c. workers not going to work, but also going to stop movement of all commerce on all railroad lines -remove trains from tracks, don't let people on or off d. result: nothing moves from east coast to midwest, everyone is paying attention to workers e. federal gov't and state gov't send out militias to gain control of railroad lines in any way necessary f. militia opens fire, workers set trains on fire = riot in Baltimore g. workers lack a central leader, organize into Knights of Labor - Terence V. Powderly thinks every worker needs to be united in the same union (except bankers, lawyers, saloon workers, gamblers) - shouldn't strike, but find a way to give organized labor a say in the economy, own means of production h. Knights fall apart, American Federation of Labor takes its place - this group is still around today - Samuel Gompers is in charge - every certain profession organizes together in their own separate unions (railroad workers unite, carpenters etc.) - bread & butter unionism: shorter day, better wages, better conditions - strikes come back (Pittsburgh steel industry, Pullman Sleeper Cars v. federal troops) - many strikes fail because they are put down by force, Grover Cleveland gives them "labor day" J. Farmers are having similar ideas a. they have no power, economic hardships b. machines can put out more and more product per year; this is bad because it creates a surplus so price drops c. they want to fight back, 'Farmers Alliances' = Populist Party, 'The Grange' d. organizations want subtreasury - store crops in a warehouse and take out loans in those crops, - when crop prices rise, they'll take out crops and pay back loans - they want political power, bring power closer to the people K. Workers & Farmers largely powerless on their own, but come together to be more powerful than


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UMD HIST 201 - Lecture notes

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