United States Labor Strikes.

Essay by deadeye999High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2006

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Late, 19th century, America was a time of both prosperity and poverty. Although it is often remembered by the luxurious lives of those like the Rockefellers and Carnegies, the majority of the population was a struggling working class. Entire families worked for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week in dangerous, unsanitary factories just to have enough money for dinner and the issue of upgrading these working conditions quickly came to the forefront of American reforms. The movement towards organized labor from 1875-1900 was unsuccessful in improving the position of workers because of the initial failure of strikes, the inherent feeling of superiority of employers over employees and the lack of governmental support.

During the Period of 1875-1900, many labor strikes failed to achieve their goal. One of the biggest reason for farmers, and workers to go on strike was stated by a machinist before the Senate Committee on Labor and Capital; "100 men are able to do now what it took 300 or 400 man to do fifty years ago" (document D).

Because machinery was coming in taking jobs away, workers would lose their livelihood, and most likely their only source of income. In the year 1877, employees working for the four largest railroads went on strike due to the fact their employers cut their wages by 10 percent. This strike failed because, it got out of hand and President Hayes called in the federal troops to quell the unrest brought by the striking laborers. With the failure of the railroad strike, a weakness of the labor movement was exposed. Racial and ethnic issues fractured labor unity. In the editorial section of the New York Times on July 18, 1877, the editor stated "[T]he strike is apparently hopeless, and must be regarded as nothing more than a rash...