The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History

By Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER 15
Commonwealth of Toil

The "blanket-stiff " now packs his bed Along the trails of yesteryear-- What path is left for you to tread? . . . Do you not know the West is dead? --Ralph Chaplin, "The West is Dead," Wobbly ( 1948)

The stereotypical picture of Oregon pioneers is of land-hungry farmers, but the westbound wagons and ships also brought mechanics and artisans. Some of those new arrivals carried with them the seeds of trade unionism. Printers in Portland organized the local Typographical Society in 1853, and locomotive engineers and longshoremen formed additional unions in the late 1860s. The few unions that predated 1880 were for the most part weak and tenuous, but after completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, labor's power increased noticeably. Oregon became the first state in the nation to legalize the Labor Day holiday in 1887; and for many years, the percentage of unionized non-agricultural workers was greater in Washington than in any other state. But the story of working people in the Pacific Northwest is more than the history of unions.

Work for wages is today the most common way Pacific Northwesterners earn a living. That was not true before 1880, when most people were selfemployed. Early residents sustained themselves by farming or perhaps by

-326-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 568

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?