Labor, Industry and Government

Labor, Industry and Government

Labor, Industry and Government

Labor, Industry and Government

Excerpt

Various dates, usually somewhat later than one would expect, have been assigned by different authors for the beginning of the American labor movement. Nearly all treat that movement in a little too formal a manner. The primitive essence of the American labor movement arrived in the Mayflower , and was showing itself not long afterwards. Though there is no trace of organization at that date, by 1630 labor was strong enough that the government of the Godly colony of Massachusetts Bay took account of it, and passed a law ordering "That carpenters, joyners, bricklayers, sawers and thatchers shall not take above 2 shillings a day, nor any man shall give more."

This was enforced by quite severe penalties. But only three years later, Massachusetts moved to curb merchants as well as joiners and sawyers. It ordered that "Noe person shall sell to any of the inhabitants within this jurisdiction, cloathing, tooles, or other commodities, above the rate of foure pence in a shilling more than the same cost or might be bought for ready money in England. . . ."

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