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The Great Strikes. The gap between the rich and the poor was large –9% of the wealthiest people had 75% of the nation’s wealth –Workers resented the lifestyle.

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Presentation on theme: "The Great Strikes. The gap between the rich and the poor was large –9% of the wealthiest people had 75% of the nation’s wealth –Workers resented the lifestyle."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Great Strikes

2 The gap between the rich and the poor was large –9% of the wealthiest people had 75% of the nation’s wealth –Workers resented the lifestyle of the rich Poor had little hope for change

3 Drawn to socialism- economic philosophy that favors the public control instead of private –Wealth distributed equally to everyone –People should cooperate not compete to produce goods –Karl Marx & Freidrich Engels- wrote the Communist Manifesto denounced the capitalist economic system and predicted that people would overturn it –most Americans disagreed and saw it as a threat to American ideals private property, free enterprise, individual liberty

4 Labor Unions First appeared in construction and textile manufacturing, but only lasted a few years –Demands were shorter workdays, higher wages, better working conditions

5 Knights of Labor Wanted to organize all working men and women(1869) –Included farmers, factory workers, shop keepers, African Americans Gained broad social reforms –Equal pay for equal work –Eight-hour workday –End to child labor Sought help through political activity and education

6 American Federation of Labor (AFL) Led by Samuel Gompers Craft Union- only wanted skilled workers in a network of smaller unions devoted to a specific craft ,000 members –Women and African American’s were not included Focused on wages, hours, and working conditions Relied on economic pressure through strikes and boycotts –Forced owners in to collective bargaining- workers negotiate as a group with employers –Fought for “closed shop”- only union members would be hired

7 Employers Did not like unions, –feared they would have to pay higher wages –higher costs –less competitive took measures to stop unions –forbid union meetings –firing union organizers –“yellow dog contracts”- workers promised to not join a union –refuse to collective bargain during strikes –refused to recognize unions as legitimate representatives


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