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Labor History. Philip Dray There is Power in a Union Chapter 2: Hell With the Lid Off. Philip Dray: Labor Historian. Main Items in Chapter 2. 1. Lynn [Mass.] Shoemakers: Model for US Labor History: Artisan to Worker 2. National Labor Union 3. Molly Maguires 4. Knights of Labor

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Labor History

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Labor history

Labor History

Philip Dray

There is Power in a Union

Chapter 2: Hell With the Lid Off


Philip dray labor historian

Philip Dray: Labor Historian


Main items in chapter 2

Main Items in Chapter 2

1. Lynn [Mass.] Shoemakers: Model for US Labor History: Artisan to Worker

2. National Labor Union

3. Molly Maguires

4. Knights of Labor

5. 1877 Railroad Strike


Alan dawley

Alan Dawley

  • Alan Dawley was a professor of history at The College of New Jersey.

  • Dawley was a 1965 graduate of Oberlin College, and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University.


Lynn shoemakers

Lynn Shoemakers

  • An examination of the structure and culture of Lynn, Massachusetts shoemakers, their relations with their owners, changes in their work situation due to the displacement of craft skills by factory machines, local and vocational distribution of property and income, social and geographical mobility, and the interaction among the workers, the industry, and the town.

  • A sophisticated, scholarly look at an American town during the Industrial Revolution.


National labor union

National Labor Union

  • The National Labor Union (NLU) was the first national labor federation in the United States.

  • Founded in 1866 and dissolved in 1873, it paved the way for other organizations, such as the Knights of Labor and the AFL (American Federation of Labor).

  • It was led by William H. Sylvis.

  • The National Labor Union sought to bring together all of the national labor organizations in existence, as well as the "eight-hour leagues" established to press for the eight-hour day, to create a national federation that could press for labor reforms and help found national unions in those areas where none existed.

  • The new organization favored arbitration over strikes and called for the creation of a national labor party as an alternative to the two existing parties.


Historical background

Historical Background

  • During the mid 19th century, "hard coal" mining came to dominate northeastern Pennsylvania.

  • By the 1870s, powerful financial syndicates controlled the railroads and the coalfields.

  • Coal companies had begun to recruit immigrants from overseas willing to work for less than the prevailing local wages paid to American-born employees, luring them with "promises of fortune-making".


Historical background continued

Historical Background Continued

  • 22,000 coal miners worked in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 5,500 of these were children between the ages of seven and sixteen yearswho earned between one and three dollars a week separating slate from the coal.

  • Injured miners, or those too old to work at the face, were assigned to picking slate at the "breakers" where the coal was crushed into a manageable size.

  • Many of the elderly miners finished their mining days as they had begun in their youth.


Definitions and key figures

Definitions and Key Figures

  • The Molly Maguires-The Molly Maguires were a 19th century secret society of mainly Irish-American coal miners.

  • Ancient Order of Hibernians- an Irish Catholic fraternal organization. Members must be Catholic and of Irish descent. Largest membership is now in the United States. Many members had a background with the Molly Maguires.


Definitions continued

Definitions Continued

  • Franklin B. Gowen- Served as president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in the 1870s and 1880s.

  • Coal and Iron Police- The first Coal and Iron Police were established in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, under the supervision of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

  • James McParland- a Pinkerton agent who infiltrated and helped to dismantle an organization of rebellious Pennsylvania coal miners (The Molly Maguires).

  • Pinkerton- Pinkerton Government Services, Inc., founded as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, worked to investigate the labor unions in the company's mines.


The molly maguires

The Molly Maguires

  • The Molly Maguires were a 19th century secret society of mainly Irish-American coal miners.

  • Many historians believe the "Mollies" were present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the United States between the time of the American Civil War until a series of sensational arrests and trials from 1876−78.

  • The Molly Maguires were accused of kidnapping, beatings and murder amongst other terroristic activities.

  • Fellow prisoners testified against the defendants, who were arrested by the Coal and Iron Police, who served Gowen, who acted as prosecutor in some of the trials.


Famous mollies

Famous Mollies

  • John “Black-Jack” Kehoe, Jack Berrigan, James Boyle, Thomas Duffy, John “Yellow Jack” Donahue, Alexander Campbell, Hugh McGeehan, James Carroll.

  • Historian Kevin Kenny explains that, “The convicted men were all members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), which many contemporaries claimed was merely the Molly Maguire’s under another name (10, Kenny).”


Workingmen s benevolent association

Workingmen’s Benevolent Association

  • 19th century labor organization that consisted mainly of coal-miners.

  • It was organized in 1868 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, with John Siney as president.

  • Members of the Molly’s were also members of this association.


Labor history

Knights of Labor

Terence V. Powderly

An injury to one is the concern of all!


The strike begins

The Strike Begins

  • The Pennsylvania Railroad had already slashed wages by 10 percent when it cut wages by another 10 percent in June 1877.

  • Meanwhile, on July 13, the Baltimore & Ohio cut the wages of all workers making more than a dollar a day, also by 10 percent.

  • On July 16 firemen and brakemen refused to work.


Labor history

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

  • Protest pay cut.

  • Militia units called in.

  • Theme: National power to be used not to protect former slaves, but to guarantee the right to property.


Significance of 1877 strike

Significance of 1877 Strike

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was the first major strike in an industry that propelled America’s industrial revolution.

  • It was the first national strike, stretching from Atlantic to Pacific.

  • In some cities, especially St. Louis, the struggle became one of the nation’s first general strikes.


Labor history

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877


Federal troops

Federal Troops

  • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began on July 14 and ended some 45 days later after it was put down by local and state militias, as well as by federal troops.

  • President Hayes sent in federal troops to stop the strike.


Lessons learned

Lessons Learned

  • Even as they agreed to some worker demands, bosses were determined to never again allow workers the upper hand.

  • "The railroads made some concessions, rescinded some wage cuts, but also strengthened their ‘Coal and Iron Police.’" writes one historian. "In several large cities, National Guard armories were constructed, with loopholes for guns."


Lessons learned1

Lessons Learned

  • Working people learned that without strong unions and nationwide organization they could not defeat the alliance of capital and government.

  • Knights of Labor


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