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Gap between rich and poor grows New wealthy business class grows 1890, 9% of population controlled 75% of nations wealth Workers want change!

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Presentation on theme: "Gap between rich and poor grows New wealthy business class grows 1890, 9% of population controlled 75% of nations wealth Workers want change!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gap between rich and poor grows New wealthy business class grows 1890, 9% of population controlled 75% of nations wealth Workers want change!

2 The wealthy dominated government 1.The rich did not care about worker’s issues 2.The gap between the rich and poor was wide 3.Tension between rich and poor grew 4.People started to wonder if capitalism & laissez faire economics was the answer 5.Looked to other economic/political systems 1.Socialism & Communism 2.Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels 3.Most viewed ideas as to radical

3 Socialism – economic and political philosophy that favors public instead of private control of property and income Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx

4 Labor Unions Start to Form Fight the injustices of capitalism Shorter work days/weeks Higher wages Better/safer working conditions End to child labor

5 Unions Formed 1. Workers in a trade joined together to bargain for better wages and working conditions 2. Goal = collective bargaining with owners to improve situation 3.Most employers were unwilling to change conditions 4.Workers threaten to strike – Scabs were hired 5.Sometimes mob riots broke out

6 Early Labor Unions Knights of Labor 1869 Organize all workers, men/women, skilled and unskilled, African Americans Terence Powderly Did not use strikes as tool 8 hour work day, equal wages for equal work, end to child labor

7 American Federation of Labor (AFL) Led by Samuel Gompers Skilled workers only – craft union Use of strikes and boycotts Force collective bargaining

8 Industrial Workers of the World “Wobblies” Focused on unskilled workers Strikes led to violence, many arrested for promoting strikes in war-related industries

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10 Employers reactions Took measures to stop unions from forming They feared higher wages would raise costs and make them less competitive Loss of profits

11 Famous/Infamous Labor Strikes The Great Railroad Strike of % wage cuts due to recession on Baltimore and Ohio Railroads Similar in other places in country as well, railroad workers reacted with violence Strikes quickly spread from city to city Pittsburgh, federal troops brought in to stop violence

12 Eugene V. Debs – led the brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman Did not believe in violence Formed the American Railway Union 1893 unite all railway workers skilled and unskilled

13 Haymarket Riot Between 1881 and 1900 some 24,000 strikes erupted around US Haymarket Riot Workers at Chicago’s McCormick reaper factory wanted 8 hours days Went on striker, scabs brought in violence breaks out Police break it up, several are injured

14 Haymarket Riot Group of anarchists joined the strikers at a protest rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square Someone throws a bomb into police formation, killing one officer A riot breaks out, dozens were killed Four anarchist were convicted and hung They were later pardoned by Illinois governor Labor unions get associated with violence and radical ideas

15 Homestead 1892 Henry Frick cut wages = workers strike Hired Pinkertons (private police force) to break strike 12 hour shootout with strikers in sues, 10 dead, many other injured Many arrested, few convicted Homestead reopens under militia protection

16 Pullman 1894 George Pullman sets up towns just workers to attract a dedicated work force All needs provided for (a lake, schools, a theater, a church, paved sidewalks, shade trees, athletic programs, a band) Strict rules were enforced (ban on alcohol, mandatory church attendance) Panic of 1893 forces lay offs and a 25% wage cut, yet prices in town did not decrease

17 A delegation of workers met to protest, Pullman fired them = workers strike Pullman shut down plant Workers went to Eugene V. Debs and American Railway Union for support Called for a nationwide strike on Pullman Cars Widespread local strikes followed = by 1894, 260,000 workers joined the Pullman Strike

18 This disrupted mail delivery and railroad traffic Federal Government brought in and won court order that forbid union activity that disrupted railroad traffic President Grover Cleveland sent in 2,500 troops to make sure it was obeyed and strike ended Set precedent that court would not support union strikes and this helped limit union gains for 30 years

19 Middle Class emerges 1.As conditions and pay improve = stronger middle class began to emerge a. Toolmakers, printers, managers of mines and factories 2.Gained a voice in politics a.Government corrected some problems – some regulation

20 Question How do you feel about the condition of workers in America? Explain. Do you feel that the growing gap between the rich and poor in our country is a major problem? Explain. Any thoughts on solutions? What do you think separates our population the most? Religion? Race? Money? Explain.


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