A People*s History of the United States Chapter 10

Jordana Epstein
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
 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
 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).
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
The Dorr Rebellion
 Following his warranted arrest, Dorr fled the state and went into
 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
• 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
The Rise of Labor
 Following the Civil War, labor unions became very
 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
 At this time, the government generally sided with the
The Lowell Girls
 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
 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
• 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
• 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
 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
 Class struggle is important, because it is a timeless
struggle and learning from our past can only help
influence a brighter future.
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:
Slide 7
Slide 10 Photo: http://alivecampus.com/taking-over-lowell-one-building-at-a-time/
Slide 11 Photo: 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