History of Labour in the United States - Vol. 2

By John R. Commons; David J. Saposs et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE GREAT UPHEAVAL, 1884-1886

New Economic Conditions. The difference between the labour movements in the early and the middle eighties, 357. The unskilled, 357. Extension of the railways into the outlying districts, 358. Resultant intensification of competition among mechanics, 358. Industrial expansion, 358. Growth of cities, 359. Extension of the market and the supremacy of the wholesale jobber, 359. Impossibility of trade agreements, 359. Pools, 360. Immigration, 360. The exhaustion of the public domain, 360. Peculiarities of the depression, 1883-1885, 361. Reduction in wages, 361. Effect of the depression on the other economic classes, 362. The antimonopoly slogan, 362.

Strikes and Boycotts, 1884-1885. Fall River spinners' strike, 362. Troy stove mounters' strike, 363. The Cincinnati cigar makers' strike, 363. Hocking Valley coal miners' strike, 363. The vogue of the boycott, 364. Extremes in boycotting, 365. Boycott statistics, 1884-1885, 365. Resumption of the strike movement, 366. The Saginaw Valley, Michigan, strike, 366. Quarrymen's strike in Illinois, 367. Other strikes, 367. Shopmen's strikes on the Union Pacific in 1884, and the Knights of Labor, 367. Joseph R. Buchanan, 367. The Gould railway strike in 1885, 368. Gould's surrender, 369. Its enormous moral effect, 370. The general press and the Order, 370. Keen public interest in the Order, 370. The New York Sun "story," 371. Effect on Congress, 372. The contract immigrant labour evil, 372. Situation in the glass-blowing industry, 372. The Knights and the anti-contract labour law, 373. "The Knights of Labor -- the liberator of the oppressed," 373. Beginning of the upheaval, 373. Unrestrained class hatred, 374. Labour's refusal to arbitrate disputes, 374. Readiness to commit violence, 374.

The Eight-Hour Issue and the Strike. Growth of trade unions, 375. New trade unions formed, 1884-1885, 375. Convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, in 1884, 376. The eight-hour issue, 376. Invitation to the Knights to co-operate, 377. Referendum vote by the affiliated organisations, 377. Advantage to the trade unions from the eighthour issue, 378. Lukewarmness of the national leaders of the Knights, 378. Powderly's attitude, 378. Enthusiasm of the rank and file, 379. Pecuniary interest of the Order's organisers in furthering the eight-hour agitation, 380. Marvellous increase in the membership of the Knights, 381. Membership statistics for various States, 381. Racial composition, 382. Composition by trades, 382. The pace of organisation in Illinois by months, 382. The Southwest railway strike, 383. Its cause, 383. Its unusual violence, 383. Its failure, 384. The eight-hour strike, 384. Degree of its immediate success, 384. Its ultimate failure, 385. Unequal prestige of the Knights and the trade unions as a result of the strike, 385.

The Chicago Catastrophe. Effect of the Haymarket bomb on the eight

-356-

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