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How Successful Was Organized Labor In Improving The Position Of Workers In The Period From 1875-1900? Analyze The Factors That Contributed To The Level Of Success Achieved.

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Relying on a critical evaluation of the accompanying documents and your knowledge of the time period, assess the validity of this statement: "The growth of organized labor between 1875 and 1900 was not a radical threat to American society."


Document A

Source: From the Depths, William Balfour Ker, 1906


Document B

Source: Terence V. Powderly, The Knights of Labor Champion Reform, 1887

We are breaking up old traditions. We are breaking up hereditary rights, and planting everywhere the seed of universal rights. We are breaking up the idea that money makes the man and not moral worth. We are breaking up the idea that might makes right... We are breaking up the practice of employing little children in factories, thus breeding a race of deformed, ignorant, and profligateÐ'... We are breaking up the idea that the accident of sex puts one-half of the human race beyond the pale of constitutional rights. We are breaking up the practice of paying woman one-third the wages paid man simply because she is a woman.

Yes, the Knights of Labor are breaking up, and they will continue their appointed work of breaking up until universal rights shall prevail; and while they may not bring in the millennium, they will do their part in the evolution of moral forces that are working for the emancipation of the race.


Document C

Source: President T. Roosevelt as quoted in the Evening Post, 1895

We shall guard as zealously the rights of the striker as those of the employer. But when riot is menaced it is different. The mob takes its own chance. Order will be kept at whatever cost. If it comes to shooting we shall shoot to hit. No blank cartridges or firing over the head of anybody.


Document D

Source: Samuel Gompers, An AFL Perspective on Women in the Work Force, 1897

The invasion of the crafts by women has been developing for years amid irritation and injury to the workman. The right of the woman to win honest bread is accorded on all sides, but with craftsmen it is an open question whether this manifestation is of a healthy social growth or not.

Is it a pleasing indication of progress to see the father, the brother and the son displaced as the breadwinner by the mother, sister, and daughter?

The growing demand for female labor is not founded upon philanthropy, as those who encourage it would have sentimentalists believe; it does not spring from the milk of human kindness. It is an insidious assault upon the home; it is the knife of the assassin, aimed at the family circle- the divine injunction. It debars the man through financial embarrassment from family responsibility, and physically, mentally and socially excludes the woman equally from nature's dearest impulse. Is this the demand of civilized progress; is it the desire of Christian dogma?


Document E

Source: Grover Cleveland, Second Inaugural Address, 1893

I deem it fitting on this occasion, while indicating the opinion I hold concerning public questions of present importance, to also briefly refer to the existence of certain conditions and tendencies among our people which seem to menace the integrity and usefulness of their Government.

While every American citizen must contemplate with the utmost pride and enthusiasm the growth and expansion of our country, the sufficiency of our institutions to stand against the rudest shocks of violence, the wonderful thrift and enterprise of our people, and the demonstrated superiority of our free government, it behooves us to constantly watch for every symptom of insidious infirmity that threatens our national vigor.

The strong man who in the confidence of sturdy health courts the sternest activities of life and rejoices in the hardihood of constant labor may still have lurking near his vitals the unheeded disease that doom him to sudden collapse.

The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their Government, its functions do not include the support of the people.


Document F

Source: Terrence V. Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 1859-1889 (Philadelphia: T. V. Powderly, 1890)

The annual convention of the Knights of Labor that convened in Richmond, Virginia, on October 4, 1886, took place in a region driven by racial and political conflict.

You stand face to face with a stern, living reality; a responsibility which cannot be avoided or shirked. The Negro question is a living reality; a responsibility that cannot be avoided or shirked. The first proposition that stares us in the face is this: the Negro is free; he is here and he is here to stay. He is a citizen and must learn to manage his own affairs. His labor and that of the white man will be thrown upon the market side by side, and no human eye can detect a difference between the article manufactured by the black mechanic and that manufactured by the white mechanic. Both claim an equal share of the protection afforded to American labor, and both mechanics must sink their differences or fall prey to the slave labor now being imported to this country.

Every man has the right to say who shall enter beneath his roof; who shall occupy the same bed, private conveyance, or such other place as he is the master of. I reserve for myself the right to say who I will or will not associate with. That right belongs to every other man. I have no wish to interfere with that right.


Document G

Source: Isaac Meyers representing the Colored Caulkers' Trades Union Society

I speak for the colored men of the whole country. . . when I tell you that all they ask for themselves is a fair chance; that you shall be no worse off by giving them that chance; that you and they will dwell in peace and harmony together; that you and they


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