Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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During the development of industrial capitalism of the late 19th century the unions played a role in resisting and accommodating the owners of big business. Such as the use of violence to persuade the owner to meet the demands of the unions as evidenced by the strikes at Haymarket Square, Homestead, and with the Pullman railroad strike. And as evidenced by the legislative change brought fourth by the American Federation of Labor and the Knights of Labor.

The American publics opinion during the late 19th century was marked by mistrust and uncertainty towards the labor unions. It had appeared to the people of the United States that the labor unions where fighting for the betterment of working conditions and wages one minute, and the next leading a revolt against the business world and the government.

Labor unions started to be formed in the late 1800's. The Knights of Labor worked to help bring about the 8-hour workday.

The American federation of Labor worked for better wages and hours for the workers. The labor unions used strikes to try to improve working conditions that they felt were unsafe and demeaning to the workers. There were times when the strikes got out of hand and resorted to violence. The Pullman Strike of 1894, the Homestead Strike of 1892, and the Haymarket Square riot are examples of how the strikes can lead to violence and then turn deadly.

In 1886 the Haymarket Riot marked the first major instance of violence between the unionized workers and the government. The workers of the International Harvester plant in Chicago Illinois were on strike at the McCormick reaper works facility when the police during a riot shot several of them. In the Haymarket riots the anarchist's backed the strikers in their march against International Harvester. A...