Presentation on theme: "The Growing Labor Movement. Long Hours 12 hours a day, 6 days a week Sweatshops Small, hot, dark, dirty workhouses Dangerous work Poorly lit, overheated,"— Presentation transcript:
The Growing Labor Movement
Long Hours 12 hours a day, 6 days a week Sweatshops Small, hot, dark, dirty workhouses Dangerous work Poorly lit, overheated, badly ventilated, accidents common, faulty equipment, improper training
Families & Children Children came to work with parents, earned wages, stunted growth, no education
Company Towns Communities owned by the business where workers lived Wage Slavery Workers buy goods on credit, companies take money from paychecks; stuck in debt Collective Bargaining Negotiate as a group for higher wages and better conditions
Activity: Observe the following photographs and identify the different impacts industrialization on labor. While viewing each photograph think about the following: Who is doing the work? What are the hazards? What type of work are they doing? Would they need training? (skilled vs. unskilled) Think about these questions when you are looking at the pictures! What was it like to live during this time period?
Picture: Workers vs Owner “The old familiar relations between employer and employee were passing. A few generations before, the boss had known every man in his shop. He called his men by their first names, asked about the family and swapped jokes and stories with them. Today, you have large factories, the personal touch is gone!” Theodore Roosevelt“IMPERSONALIZATION”
Poor working conditions Unfriendliness/impersonalization Immigrants taking jobs Decrease work day Machines replacing workers Child labor Job security
In the 1880s, children made up more than 5 percent of the industrial labor force. Children often left school at the age of 12 or 13 to work. Girls sometimes took factory jobs so that their brothers could stay in school. If an adult became too ill to work, children as young as 6 or 7 had to work. Rarely did the government provide public assistance, and unemployment insurance didn’t exist. The theory of Social Darwinism held that poverty resulted from personal weakness. Many thought that offering relief to the unemployed would encourage idleness.
Division of Labor Some owners viewed workers as parts of the machinery. Unlike smaller and older businesses, most owners never interacted with workers. impersonalization Work Environment Factory workers worked by the clock. Workers could be fired for being late, talking, or refusing to do a task. Workplaces were not safe. Children performed unsafe work and worked in dangerously unhealthy conditions. In the 1890s and early 1900s states began legislating child labor.
Two Different Worlds 1 extravagant lifestyles caste system The wealthy would manifest itself in an elite class of Americans who lived extravagant lifestyles. Many common people resented their snobbish attitudes and wealth. In some respects, there was a caste system in the U.S. 1861---------3 millionaires----------1900--------3,800 By 1900, 90% of the wealth in the U.S. was controlled by 10% of population.
Industrial millionaires were condemned in the Populist platform of 1892 “The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few…and the possessors of these, in turn despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of government injustice we breed the two great classes---tramps and millionaires” -1892
Populist Party Involved in the elections between 1892-1908 the won control of many state legislatures and Kansas even elected a Populist candidate to the Senate In 1892 the Populist party met in Omaha to decide on a national platform and nominated James Weaver as their candidate The platform was finance, transportation, land, a one-term presidency, and limiting immigration They would become extremely important in gaining workers’ rights and pushing for soft currency
1860 to 1925 William Jennings Bryan was a gifted speaker, lawyer, three- time presidential candidate, and devout Protestant. Bryan made his career in Nebraska politics. Served in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1890. Populist Party Defender of the small farmer and laborer, Bryan worked closely with the Populist Party.
"Great Commoner” Bryan's efforts on behalf of farmers and laborers (the so- called "common" people) earned him the title the "Great Commoner” Ran for the presidency unsuccessfully in 3 elections as a Democrat. “Cross of Gold Speech” Known for the “Cross of Gold Speech”
William Jennings Bryan's most well- known political speech delivered before the Democratic Convention in 1896. "Gold-Standard."Highlighted the Populist stance and his strong position on the issue of the "Gold-Standard." Attacked the concept that gold was the only sound backing for currency.
What does it mean to back a currency? Traditionally, we were on the Gold Standard until 1932. Then, Silver Standard until 1972. Now, our money is backed by U.S. Gov’t credit.
Deflation, Debt, Decline for farmers “cash-crops” ties farmers to world market Farmers who grow only one crop are vulnerable to rise and fall of prices in the world market. By 1890’s overproduction, debt AND deflation (lower value of goods EX:1.25 today, 1.10 tomorrow for a coke) ) FARM CRISIS!!! 1000’s of farms foreclosed. Farmers TENANTS = SHARECROPPING
FARMERS IN CRISIS PROBLEM: After the Civil War, country experiences deflation = opposite of inflation. Deflation means low crop prices, which mean farmers can’t pay debts. FARMER’S SOLUTION: 1. Make money “cheap” by printing more money, which will make prices of crops rise AND make debt easier to pay off. 2. Tie value of dollar to silver, rather than gold to allow more dollars to be made. 3. Take control of railroads to lower charges to haul crops.
Roots of POPULISM FACT: farmers comprise nearly 50% of US in 1890 SIGNIFICANCE: Farmers can become politically very powerful IF they unite. FIRST TO ORGANIZE: 1867 Oliver Kelley formed the Grange, as social “glue” for isolated farmers Grangers control state legislatures in IL, WI, IA & MN Grangers try to control fees set by railroad, warehouses, & grain elevators Grangers develop into Farmers’ Alliances (see Mary E. Lease, AKA Mary “Yellin” Lease)
POPULISM 1892: Populists, or People’s Party, is founded. SIGNIFICANLTY, Populists receive 10% of vote in Presidential election. Grover Cleveland elected president. POPULIST GOALS: 1. Increase money supply (Inflation) 2. Graduated Income Tax (rich pay more, poor pay less) 3. Direct election of senators 4. limit president to a single term 5. use secret ballots to vote NOTE: these reforms were seen as RADICAL in 1892.
PANIC OF 1893 PANIC OF 1893: 4 year depression hits country. Incomes and wages fall. 20% of US unemployed by 1894. Makes Farm Crisis WORSE!!! DEPRESSION INCREASE POPULISM
SILVER VS. GOLD CRISIS: During panic US Treasury suffers a “run” on gold. PROBLEM: Govt. threatened with running out of $ DEBATE: The East (factory workers and owners =Republicans) wants a gold currency standard VERSUS The West (Farmers & Miners = Populists) wants a silver currency standard
Election of 1896 Democrats nominate William Jennings Bryan Populists, issue and candidate stolen, merge with Democrats and are “absorbed” Jennings makes “Cross of Gold” speech Republicans nominate William McKinley (supported by Big Business & “Gold-bugs”)
“They tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We reply that our great cities rest upon our broad and great prairies”.
“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms, and the grass will grow in the streets of every city of the country”.
“You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”
real” business menArgued the “ real” business men ” were farmers, agricultural workers, miners and small town merchants. " pioneer spirit "Demonstrated the " pioneer spirit " of America ignored by a governmentThese workers were all but ignored by a government that served the interests of big cities and large corporate enterprise.
Election of 1896 Why did McKinley win? 1.East out-populated the South, West & mid-West 2.Urban workers rejected Bryan’s message of inflation HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Victory for big business, middle-class values, and conservatism POPULISTS LEGACY: a list of reforms to be achieved later and a message that the poor could be a potentially powerful political force.
1900 Gold Standard Act 1897 – Depression ends Gold discoveries in Alaska, Canada, and South Africa Dollar is pegged to gold Increased volume of gold allows for inflation w/o silver standard