2000 Dbq Analysis

1063 Words5 Pages
In the late 19th century. America was a time of poverty as well as prosperity. The time period was often remembered because of the great lives that Rockefellers and Carnegies lived, meanwhile the majority of the population was a struggling working class. The main issue was working conditions for laborers. There were families that had to work from about 10 hours a day, 7 days a week in dangerous and unsanitary factories jut to get enough money to eat. The working class began to try to improve their conditions and then came the most important American reforms. From 1875 to 1900, due to the failure of strikes, the lack of government support and the innate feeling of superiority of employers over employees, movements towards organized labor was…show more content…
The long and poor working conditions and several social causes set the stage for many unions to form which failed in the end. For example, in 1877 railroad workers in the union participated in a massive strike known as the Great Railroad strike of 1877, which resulted in great number of violence but still no reform.In an editorial in The New York Times it stated "The strike is apparently hopeless, and must be regarded as nothing more than a rash and spiteful demonstrations of resentment by men too ignorant or too reckless to understand their own interest." This clearly states that the editorial recognized that the strike would not work for the laborers.(Doc.B) Many riots erupted and large crowds in Baltimore attacked the militia who were sent to break up the strike. Also President Hayes sent federal troops to put an end to the strikes and riots. In the other hand, the Pittsburgh militia sided with the strikers. There were many strikes occurring year after year but it seemed to be that there was little done to benefit the workers. For instance, in the Homestead strike of 1892, the most powerful corporation, Carnegie Steel Company, went against the strongest trade unions. The strike of 1889 won the steelworkers a favorable three year contract and Carnegie wanted to break the union. Then Henry Clay Frick started to step up the production demands and the unions refused to accept…show more content…
To begin with the government did not advocate unions and were vilified into groups of people known as "anti-American" and "anti-capitalism". Thomas Nast a man who was interested in improving working conditions thought otherwise. In Thomas Nast cartoon in Harper's Weekly, 1878, it showed that the laborers were destroying capitalism and starting to lean towards communism. (Doc.C) Samuel Gompers was the founder of the American Federation of Labor in 1886. He was one of the first American union leaders who focused on collective bargaining and used strike as a political weapon. The American Federation of Labor was a loose grouping of skilled workers. It excluded most women, African American, unskilled workers and some immigrants. It kept out in getting involved in politics and built up strike funds, focusing on "bread and butter" issues. Gompers argued before a commission established by the house of Representatives on the Relations and Conditions of Capital and Labor in 1899, that the right to strike was necessary if they wanted any reforms to be made but not even that right was achieved. (Doc. I) In Gompers testimony he was clearly stating that not even organized labor had been established and what was accomplished wasn’t significant. Since the government did not pay any importance to the issue, they didn’t state whether or not unions were authorized which stopped the success of
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