Organized Labor DBQ

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During the period from 1875 to 1900, organized labor was unsuccessful in improving the conditions for its workers. All of the work that was done, mostly to vain. Some labor unions such as Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor tried to improve many working conditions. They also tried to make the work days shorter with less hours, and have higher wages. One of the reasons why organized labor was not a success was the public had many bitter opinions about the labor unions. Many of the strikes led to a horrible reputation and image of the unions. Most times, the riots caused discomfort within the public. The depression of the 1870s and the Panic of 1873 were also not in favor of the unions. Labor unions had to face many obstacles, …show more content…
Some of the major labor unions consisted of the Knights of Labor, American Federation of Labor, and the American Railway Union. Each union was different with its individual beliefs and the structure of its union. An example would be, The Knights of Labor, wanted an end to capitalism and create businesses which were owned by workers. The American Federation of Labor on the other hand, wanted better conditions, wages, and hours. Last, but not the least, The American Railway Union was led by a Eugene V. Debs. Debs wished for industrial union without any violence (Document F). Although not by much, things began to improve languidly. Most of the union's water and 8-hour work day. From 1875 to 1891, daily work hours only improved from 9.9 hours to 9.4 hours (Document A). Unity within all of the unions and having the same viewpoint would have made them durable. Working together at some points would have make the achieve the general goal, which every union …show more content…
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 became the first nationwide strike, which was caused by the wages being cut. It had occurred during the depression of 1870s, which made it more difficult for the workers. The strike reached to a serious point where federal troops had to be brought in and fired upon the strikers. Close to 100 people died in this strike. The image and reputation of the labor unions plummeted in the public’s eye. Another well known strike was the Haymarket Riot of 1886. This strike was mainly taken for the eight hour wages. Many speeches were given at the square. Bombs were being thrown and police had to get involved. This hurt the labor movement by tarnishing its “radical” image. Once again, the Homestead strike and Lockout of 1892, was also for wages. The Carnegie plant corporation had brought in 300 Pinkertons to battle with the workers and the workers ended up losing (Document G). Another significant strike that occurred in 1894 was the Pullman strike. This strike focused more on the American Railway Union which was under Debs. Boycotting and different riots became more common when the president and governor both refused to send troops to different places. After the strike failed, Debs had turned to socialism. Those were the few major strikes which involved a great amount of violence. The fact that innocent lives were being taken was something the public was not a fan

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