Human Exploitation in the United States

By Norman Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MINES AND MINERS

On the Northern Pacific going west the engine which has been pulling your train eases its labors as it begins to make its way down from the crest of the great divide. All around is the wilderness of mountains and rocks wooded sparsely with gnarled and twisted trees. Suddenly, as the train goes round the curve, in this desolate and lonely wilderness at the top of the world one sees, a little below and some miles ahead, the city of Butte. At any hour of the day the sight of so considerable a city in the heart of the Rocky Mountains brings a sense of astonishment; if your approach is after darkness has fallen that astonishment is mixed with wonder and delight. Here, out of night on the tumbled wilderness, rises the city of light.

It cannot be said that Butte at close hand is itself a city of beauty. It is a city of extraordinary interest, a city which in its physical aspect, its tumultuous past, and its present slow decline symbolizes beyond any other city in America the problems of the exploitation of the mineral resources of America and the men who mine them. Butte is a city which copper has built and which the discovery of copper in South Africa and South America, where it can be more cheaply exploited, had sentenced to a slow decline even before the great depression hastened the processes of decay. Butte exists for one purpose only and that is to get copper out of the ground. Shafts go down to great depths from the middle of its streets. It has been a pioneering mining camp and then a modern city. It has seen the ruthless strife for power of copper-barons who wrote some of the most picturesque

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Human Exploitation in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Human Exploitation in the United States *
  • To My Wife *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter I Land and Those Who Live on It i
  • Chapter II Real Estate Vs. Homes 13
  • Chapter III Farming for Exercise 4
  • Chapter IV Men and Trees 72
  • Chapter V Mines and Miners 92
  • Chapter VI New Sources of Physical Energy 119
  • Chapter VII Working for Wages 137
  • Chapter VIII Working Conditions 164
  • Chapter IX Unemployment 183
  • Chapter X Women in Industry 215
  • Chapter XI Exploiting Our Children 231
  • Chapter XII the Negro 258
  • Chapter XIII the Labor Struggle 284
  • Chapter XIV the Consumer Pays 304
  • Chapter XV Little Owner, What Now? 327
  • Chapter XVI the Government as Exploiter 357
  • Chapter XVII in Conclusion 374
  • Bibliography 391
  • Index 399
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