The Growth of the American Labor Movement Notes
Outcome of Industrialism
• The growing industrial economy had resulted in a steady and substantial increase in
national wealth, rising __________________________________for much of the
population, and the creation of great new fortunes.
• But industrialization did not spread its fruits evenly. Large areas of the country and large
groups in the population, most notably _____________________, _____________ and
recent ________________________, profited relatively little from economic growth.
• Industrialization brought both progress and pain to late-nineteenth-century America.
The Struggle to Unionize
• Labor attempted to fight back against the atrocities of industrialism by adopting some of
the same _____________ their employers had used so effectively: creating large
organizations, or unions. But by the end of the century their efforts had met with little
• The first attempt to organize separate unions into a single national organization came in
1866, with the founding of the National Labor Union.
– Claimed 640,000 members - Excluded _______________________ workers
The Opposition to Unions
• There was widespread ___________________________ hostility toward the unions.
When labor disputes with employers turned bitter and violent, as they occasionally did,
much of the public blamed the workers.
• They labeled them as “radicals” or “_______________________” (people who want to
destroy all governments and laws).
Knights of Labor
• The first major effort to create a genuinely national labor organization.
• Goals: - They pushed for an ______ hour work day. - The abolition of
_____________________________ - By 1886, the Knights claimed over 700,000
• American Federation of Labor (AFL), rejected the Knights’ idea of one big union for
everybody. The AFL was an association of several __________________ craft unions
all combined into one organization.
• Goal was to secure for the workers a greater share of _____________________ rewards.
• Supported the immediate objectives of most workers: _________________________,
hours and working conditions.
• While union members hoped to attain their goals through ______________________
(meaning negotiating), they were ready to use __________________________ if
Haymarket Square
• Industry and government responded forcefully to union activity, which they saw as a
threat to the ________________________________ system.
• In May, 1886 3,000 people gathered at Chicago’s Haymarket Square to protest
_________________________________- a striker had been killed and several had been
wounded at the McCromick Harvester Plant the day before.
• As police arrived the crowd was _______________. Then, someone tossed a
_______________ into the police line. No one knows who threw the bomb, but the three
speakers from the demonstration and five radicals were charged.
• After Haymarket, the public began to ______________________the labor movement.
Other Strikes
• To most middle-class Americans, the Haymarket bombing was an alarming symbol of
• Other violent strikes such as the __________________________ strike, which required
8,000 National Guard troops, and the __________________________ strike (2,000
troops), turned many Americans against unions.
Management and Government Pressure Unions
•The more powerful the unions became, the more employers began to ____________ them.
Management refused to recognize unions as representatives of the workers. Many employers
forbade union meetings, _________________ union members, and forced new employees to
sign “_______________________,” swearing that they would not join a union.
•Industrial leaders even turned the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against labor. Industrial leaders
would simply say their workers were organizing a strike and the state or federal
_______________________ would issue an __________________________ (court order)
against labor.
Teddy Roosevelt: The Square Deal
•Roosevelt became president in _____________. Citing federal responsibility for
_________________________, Roosevelt though the government should assume control
whenever states proved incapable of solving problems. He explained: “It is the duty of the
president to act upon the theory that he is the steward of the people, and …to assume that he
has the____________________ to do whatever the needs of the people demand, unless the
Constitution of the laws explicitly forbid him to do it.”
•Roosevelt believed he should influence the news ___________________ and shape
_______________________ for the benefit of the people. He started the “Square Deal” a term
used to describe ____________________ he made to business to help improve life for workers
and consumers.
Trust Busting
•Teddy did not believe that all trusts were harmful, but he sought to curb the actions of those
that hurt the ________________________. The president filed suits against trusts in the
__________________. If the court found the trust was harmful to the consumer, they
____________________ it. The Roosevelt administration filed _____ antitrust suits, winning a
number of them, but unable to slow the merger movement of big business.
Teddy Intervenes for Public Welfare
•In 1902 140,000 coal workers went on strike to demand a raise, a 9 hour work day and the
right to unionize. Five months into the strike, coal reserves ran __________. Roosevelt
intervened, calling both sides to the White House and settling the dispute.
•Roosevelt’s actions demonstrated a ______________________of the government towards
strikes. When a strike threatened public welfare, the federal government was expected to
•Overall, Roosevelt’s real goal was _________________________. He established several
government organizations to ____________________________from establishing high rates,
bribery, or other unfair business practices. For example, he had the Elkins Act passed, which
made it illegal for railroads to change rates without notifying the public.
•Under Roosevelt, and the next presidents Taft and Wilson a series of ____________________
laws were passed that broke up trusts, protected the __________________, and improved
_________________________________ and wages.
•The Progressive reading and laws assignments will give further details about these changes.

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