1-Essays - I II During the latter half of the nineteenth...

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I. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, America witnessed an influx of immigrants from non-western European countries, and the attempt of African Americans, Asians and Native Americans to realize equal access to the country’s social, economic and legal rights. Looking at the Gilded Age, How did Americans respond to these aspirations? II. Write an essay that explains why labor unions developed as they did in the United States? What factors shaped the growth of labor unions during this period? What factors delayed or weakened their growth? What were their limitations and what achievements can they claim. The origins of the labor movement lay in the formative years of the American nation, when a free wage- labor market emerged in the artisan trades late in the colonial period. The earliest recorded strike occurred in 1768 when New York journeymen tailors protested a wage reduction. The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers. From that time on, local craft unions proliferated in the cities, publishing lists of “prices” for their work, defending their trades against diluted and cheap labor, and, increasingly, demanding a shorter workday. Thus a job-conscious orientation was quick to emerge, and in its wake there followed the key structural elements characterizing American trade unionism–first, beginning with the formation in 1827 of the Mechanics’ Union of Trade Associations in Philadelphia, central labor bodies uniting craft unions within a single city, and then, with the creation of the International Typographical Union in 1852, national unions bringing together local unions of the same trade from across the United States and Canada (hence the frequent union designation “international”). Although the factory system was springing up during these years, industrial workers played little part in the early trade union development. In the nineteenth century, trade unionism was mainly a movement of skilled workers. System of Abuse When they weere first established, labor unions served a wonderful purpose. The working conditions in factories during the late 1800’s were horrible, and the pay was just as bad. Labor unions helped to stop this abuse of laborers. However, in today’s modern times, the labor union systems are greatly abused.

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