A People’s History of the United StatesChapter 10: The Other Civil War Jordana Epstein 04.03.2014 CH S 245-14004
Chapter 10 Overview • Chapter 10 focuses on the many class struggles during the 19th century depression, such as: • The Anti-Renter Movement • The Dorr Rebellion • The Flour Riot of 1837 • The Molly Maguires • The Rise of Labor Unions • The Lowell Girls Movement • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
The Anti-Renter Movement • This movement took place in the Hudson River Valley in the mid 1800s. • At the time, a patroonship system was in place. A patroonship, according to Henry Christman, was "a few families, intricately intermarried, controlled the destinies of three hundred thousand people and ruled in almost kingly splendor near two million acres of land” (Zinn). • The tenants felt this system was unfair, and were upset because they were forced to pay rent and taxes to these wealthy families. • The largest, wealthiest, and most powerful manor was owned by the Rensselaer family.
The Anti-Renter Movement • Rebellious tenants used fliers, • such as this one, to spread the • word about mass tenant meetings • The tenants wanted equal rights • and began forming Anti-Rent • associations to prevent eviction • The anti-renters tried to sign petitions and put • them before legislature, but each time they • were unsuccessful. • Hundreds of anti-renters were put in jail for • being uncooperative. • In 1846, a new governor freed the anti-renters. • Zinn states, “The farmers had fought, been • crushed by the law, their struggle diverted into • voting, and the system stabilized by enlarging • the class of small landowners, leaving the basic structure of rich and poor intact. • It was a common sequence in American history.”
The Dorr Rebellion • In 1842, Dorr ran unopposed for governor in an unofficial election. He earned 6,000 votes. • President Tyler had already promised the current governor he would support his campaign and would send in troops if Dorr was uncooperative. • Dorr and his followers held an inauguration for his new position on May 3, 1842; however, during the celebration, a cannon misfired and the governor ordered Dorr’s arrest. • The Dorr Rebellion took place during 1841-1843 in Rhode Island. • Thomas W. Dorr, a well-off lawyer was the leader of this rebellion against the law that in order to vote, a man must be born in the United States and owned property. • Dorr encouraged workers to join the Rhode Island Suffrage Association and ask themselves why, “should twelve thousand working people in Rhode Island without the vote submit to five thousand who had land and could vote?” (Zinn). • Dorr organized protests for electoral reform and along with his followers “drafted a new constitution without property qualifications for voting” (Zinn).
The Dorr Rebellion • Following his warranted arrest, Dorr fled the state and went into hiding. • When Dorr returned to Rhode Island he continued his fight for the People’s Constitution with the help of hundreds of working men. • Unfortunately, they were no match for the thousands in the state military, and Dorr was once again forced to flee Rhode Island. • According to Zinn, “A new constitution offered some reform. It still gave overrepresentation to the rural areas, limited the vote to property owners or those who paid a one-dollar poll tax, and would let naturalized citizens vote only if they had $134 in real estate.” • In 1843 The Law and Order group won all major offices. • Dorr returned to Rhode Island and was arrested for treason. Dorr was originally sentenced to life imprisonment, but a newly elected official of the Law and Order group pardoned him after 20 months.
The Flour Riot of 1837 • The Flour Riot broke out because of • the rise of the cost of flour. • The cost of a barrel of flour doubled during this time. • The riot broke out in New York City. • The number of impoverished people had increased, and so did the cost of necessities, such as flour. This created a class struggle and a food shortage • It was believed that Eli Hart & Co., and S. H. Herrick & Co were hoarding flour. • Rioters charged into Eli Hart & Co. and destroyed hundreds of barrels of flour, but gave up within minutes at S. H. Herrick and Co. after they were restrained
The Rise of Labor Unions • Following the Civil War, labor unions became very popular. • Workers banded together because they felt they were being treated unfairly and were making very little money. • The employers were upset by this dynamic and tried to slow the progression of labor unions, which generally resulted in bloody conflict between laborers and employers. • At this time, the government generally sided with the employers.
The Lowell Girls Movement • The “Lowell Mills Girls” were female factory workers who worked at textile factories in Lowell, MA. • Lowell, MA was named after the powerful Lowell family. They were a wealthy family and incredibly influential in the textile industry. • The girls’ ages ranged from 13-30. • The girls lived in dorms while working at these factories and while at first the experience seemed like a good social experience, “the dormitories became prisonlike, controlled by rules and regulations” (Zinn). • As a result, the women began protesting and even went on strike following a wage cut in 1834; however, “the threat of hiring others to replace them brought them back to work at reduced wages” (Zinn).
The Lowell Girls Movement • Following their 1834 strike failure • the factory girls created the Factory • Girls’ Association. Although this strike • had more followers, the women • ultimately ran out of money and were • forced to return to work. • The factory workers continued to • resist and “In 1835, twenty mills went • on strike to reduce the workday from • thirteen and a half hours to eleven • hours, to get cash wages instead of • company scrip, and to end fines for lateness” (Zinn). • As a result of these strikes, the Female Labor Reform Association in Lowell was • formed in 1845.
The Molly Maguires • The Molly Maguires were Irish coalminers • of Pennsylvania. They were a secret society • formed in the 19th century • The “Mollies” were known for shady • business and were believed to be responsible • for many murders, robberies, and various other mysterious crimes. • This was a time of depression and food • shortage.At the time, it was difficult being a foreigner in the United States.They were treated very poorly, made very little money and did not have the right to own land or vote.
The Molly Maguires • Eventually, the crimes of the Molly Maguires caught up with them. Nineteen of the • “Mollies” were executed by public hanging. Although there were some protests from • Work organizations, they were unsuccessful.
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 • Following the Civil War, there was a • boom in railroad construction • This strike ensued as a result of the • Panic of 1873. A struggle began between • the industry leaders and the workers. • This was one of the first horrific • strikes in the United States. The country • Seemed paralyzed for a few weeks • following this strike. • The railroad workers worked really • long, difficult hours and felt they were • not paid well enough. • Many were killed during this strike • as a result of government and militia • intervention.
Conclusion • Although the civil war is the most talked about historical event from this time period, there were many other crucial struggles occurring at the time. Many of the strikes and struggles discussed in this presentation are not written into United States History Textbooks. • Zinn states, “In these books, given to millions of young Americans, there is little on class struggle in the nineteenth century. The period before and after the Civil War is filled with politics, elections, slavery, and the race question.” • Class struggle is important, because it is a timeless struggle and learning from our past can only help influence a brighter future.
References • A People’s History of the United States. Zinn, H. (2005). • Slide 3 Photo: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/na/rensselaerswyck.html • Slide 4 Photo: http://lsaushistory13.wikispaces.com/The+Anti-Renters+Movement • Slide 5 Photo: http://www.providence.edu/news/headlines/Pages/dorrrebellion.aspx • Slide 7 Photo:http://whitmer.wikis.birmingham.k12.mi.us/Flour+Riot+in+New+York • Slide 10 Photo: http://alivecampus.com/taking-over-lowell-one-building-at-a-time/ • Slide 11Photo: http://bullmurph.com/tag/the-molly-maguires/ • Slide 12 Photo: http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-1D02 • Slide 13 Photo: http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-1F1