Great railway strike of 1877. Great Railroad Strike of 1877 2022-10-11
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The Great Railway Strike of 1877 was a significant event in American history that marked the first nationwide strike in the country. It began on July 14, 1877, when workers on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) went on strike to protest wage cuts and poor working conditions. The strike quickly spread to other railroads, and by the end of the month, it had involved over 250,000 workers across 27 states.
The Great Railway Strike was fueled by a number of underlying issues, including the economic recession of the 1870s, the rise of corporate power and the decline of unions, and the growing discontent among workers over low wages and poor working conditions. In the years leading up to the strike, many railroads had implemented wage cuts and other cost-cutting measures in an effort to stay afloat during the economic downturn. This led to widespread dissatisfaction among workers, who saw their wages and standard of living decline while the railroads continued to prosper.
The strike began when workers on the B&O railroad went on strike in protest of a 10% wage cut that had been imposed by the company. The strike quickly spread to other railroads, and within a few days, it had involved workers from coast to coast. The strike was characterized by widespread violence and clashes with law enforcement and military personnel, as well as sabotage and destruction of property.
Despite the widespread disruption caused by the strike, it ultimately proved to be unsuccessful in achieving its goals. The railroads were able to bring in replacement workers and continue operating, and the strike eventually collapsed due to a lack of coordination and support from other labor groups.
Despite its ultimate failure, the Great Railway Strike of 1877 is considered a significant event in American history. It marked the first time that workers across the country had come together to protest poor working conditions and low wages, and it marked the beginning of a new era of labor activism in the United States. It also served as a wake-up call for many Americans, who began to realize the power of organized labor and the importance of protecting the rights of workers.
Great Railroad Strike of 1877: US History for Kids ***
Stay up-to-date with the politics team. By the time the Marxists won out, it was under the leadership of Daniel Deleon who took an ultra-left approach to the existing trade unions, insisting that the party needed to form revolutionary trade unions in opposition to the others. This was their second ten percent wage cut in eight months. Retrieved October 5, 2009. And the strike was consciously spread from workplace to workplace, encompassing far more than just railroad workers, bringing other industries directly into the struggle.
Great Railroad Strike of 1877: What Was It and Why Did It Happen?
It was lively times, I tell you, reaching the US Arsenal. There were scattered walkouts throughout the line the rest of the week, but it was clearly not a coordinated effort of the workers at this stage. The Pennsylvania Railroad was the first to implement the wage cut on June 1. They also had an erroneous view of the state, as if it was something that could just be used by whoever won political power through the ballot. In little more than a decade, the railroads had become a major feature of life for nearly every individual in the country.
Carroll's reply was published in the local papers: You have more to do than simply abstain from riotous proceedings. That would have big implications for the economy. Alarmed by the tense class conflict, middle class reformists sought ways to put a nice face on capitalism. In their view, efforts to raise wages, to improve working conditions, etc. On July 28, 1877, they took control of the Relay Depot, the command center for the uprising, and arrested some seventy strikers. Some small shops even voluntarily closed and offered financial and material support to the strikers.
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877: A militant legacy of workers’ struggle
Retrieved January 17, 2017. Combined Volume Value Edition, 8thed. This would have elevated the struggle to a qualitatively higher level. Strike and live—remain and perish! When agreements could not be met when a workers issue arose, unions helped organize strikes against the company. Businesses turned to workers. New York: Charles A. Several reasons led to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
Again, local forces from the National Guard were first to respond to protests but were reluctant to fight against their neighbors. However, he goes on to point out that this was equally employed by the opponents of organized action, sometimes to deleterious effect as "labeling a movement as anarchist, socialist, or even communist often enabled officials to take preemptive action that, while legal or quasi-legal, often set off popular disorder. It was completely disintegrated by the war itself. The Republican Party rallied around the concept of free labor. Garrett proposed a concession, or promise to the people, to help end the riots peacefully. Even in areas beyond these small towns, canal workers of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal joined in the fight. In the hopes of putting down the strike in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia militia was called on.
Other workers from the city, including miners and iron and steel workers, joined the side of the railroad employees. Retrieved October 5, 2009. The soldiers saw that a captured artillery piece was positioned within a hundred yards of the roundhouse; they concentrated fire around it to prevent the rioters from manning and firing it. This led to street riots from multiple disgruntled employees of steel mills and factories into the streets of Baltimore. The riot resulted in twenty deaths. Given this outlook, the unions that did exist on the railroad were divided by craft, leaving them completely divided in their dealings with management.
The change from an agrarian to industrial economy transformed the value of labor. The federal forces finally were able to allow trains to pass on the tracks on July 20, 1877. This became a hostile time in America for Railroad workers. Latta telegraphed Major General James Beaver: Situation in Pittsburgh is becoming dangerous. I think this really feeds into a lot of what we saw in 1877. The Panic of 1873 lasted all the way through the rest of the decade.
The 0rigins of the strike To return to some of the economic factors that played into the strike. Strikers in Pittsburgh ended up fighting with federal troops and burning buildings when attempts were made to forcibly Teen Vogue. Retrieved September 15, 2016. With the growth of industrial capitalism and the national economy, came efforts of workers to organize beyond the local trades councils that characterized the pre-war labor movement. I 2 Supplement : 37. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.