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4) Labor Strife - L abor Strife Great Railroad Strike of...

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Labor Strife Great Railroad Strike of 1877 Not local and isolated; national strike Caught middle class by surprise “social structure on the verge of ruin” Lives lost and property damage Triggered by wage cuts (B&O Railroad); steadily wage drops o Reduction of price of goods but not enough to supplement Workers walked out; started in West Virginia and spread nationwide (women and men, and different races of workers) Workers set fire to property; Hays calls in military and cause strike to end by force “Had America become a permanent unequal society?” Extraordinary economic volatility (extreme expansion then crashes) o Strikes took place during recession periods Unions of the 19 th century were disorganized and not part of the power structure Development of Unions Craft unionism: skilled craftsmen all part of the same trade; spread rapidly post civil war; local and small; promote traditional gender roles, couldn’t feed their families therefore aren’t real men; the workforce was undermining masculinity; no women allowed Family wage: wanted enough money to feed and take care of their families to be a proper citizen Boycotts: publicized not to buy or do a certain product or service; employers said they were un-American; outlawed because they were part of a criminal conspiracy
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  • Spring '11
  • JessicaPliley
  • Trade union, Great Railroad Strike, national strike Caught, average steel workers, Organized labor declines

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