Labor Unions in the Late 1800's Essay

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Labor Unions in the Late 1800's

Labor unions in the late 1800's set out to improve the lives of frequently abused workers. Volatile issues like the eight-hour workday, ridiculously low pay and unfair company town practices were often the fuses that lit explosive conflicts between unions and monopolistic industrialists. Some of the most violent and important conflicts of the time were the Haymarket Affair and the Pullman strike. Each set out to with similar goals and both ended with horrifying consequences. The movement for the eight-hour workday was one of the most violent struggles for laborers. Their struggle is defined by protests that were broken up by the police and the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons were a mercenary police group
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Many homes, meeting halls, and offices where outspoken supporters of the eight-hour movement lived and worked were raided without warrant. Oscar Neebe, Adolph Fisher, August Spies, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Carl Engel, and Albert Parsons were charged with the trumped up charge of accessory to murder for the riot. They were all brought to trial, even though many of the men were not even at Haymarket Square at the time of the melee.
With a jury of twelve men found all of the defendants guilty. After an appeal to the Supreme Court, Spies, Parsons, Fischer and Engel were sentenced to hang. Neebe, Fielden and Schwab were given life sentences. Louis Lingg most likely would have served a life sentence as well, however, he committed suicide.
"[Pullman] is, in fact, philanthropy made practical; humanity, founded on business principles; sobriety, art music, clean living, refined homes, self-respecting independence of character without paternalism; a vindication of the theory that there is an economical value in beauty, and that the workingman is capable of appreciating and wisely using the highest ministries of art and beauty."
--Chicago Times, 10 January 1891
The Pullman Strike of 1894 was the first national strike in United States history. George Pullman of Pullman Rail Cars founded the town of Pullman as a place where his workers could live. A problem arose
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