From the 1850s Crisis
to Civil War
IN THIS SECTION DOCUMENTS ARE PRESENTED THAT FOCUS UPON LABOR'S RELATION TO THE SLAVERY QUESTION, RANGING FROM THE 1850s CRISIS TRIGGERED BY THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA ACT TO THE FINAL MONTHS OF THE CIVIL WAR.
1. Pittsburgh workers call upon all Pennsylvania workers to act against slavery in the 1856 election.
ADDRESS OF THE WORKING MEN OF PITTSBURGH TO THEIR FELLOW WORKING MEN OF PENNSYLVANIA
The undersigned, workingmen of the City of Pittsburgh, convinced that our interests as a class are seriously involved in the present political struggle, send greeting to you, our fellow workingmen of Pennsylvania asking you to aid in the protection of our common rights, now in great peril. We hold it to be a part of the system of free government, that each class of the people should understand and uphold its own rights. Concessions in matters of subordinate importance must be made for the sake of general harmony and the public welfare, but when a question arises involving the political equality of a class, or the constitutional rights of its individual members, stern resistance becomes a duty. "Eternal vigilance"--vigilance of the people against their leaders--"is the price of liberty." So we are told by one of those leaders--one of the foremost among the founders of our Constitution. Fellow workingmen, we believe that this vigilance is called for now. We believe that a great scheme is in progress which endangers our most cherished rights. We call upon you to look to your interest yourselves, judging by facts as they stand, and disregarding party prejudices, and interested office hunting advisers. Some of these facts, it is the object of this Address to lay before you. We are neither politicians nor office-seekers. We would speak with you as brothers; if we err, let us meet with brotherly forgiveness; if we speak the words of truth