Sunday, October 27, 2013

Labor and the Progressive Movement

I. Employers and Unions: A New Understanding

A. The Imperial Impulse--The War With Spain

1. The War for Capitalist Markets

2. The Response of Euguene Debs and the Socialists

3. The Response of Samuel Gompers and the AFL

B. The National Civic Federation

1. Early History

2. Make-up of the National Civic Federation

3. Samuel Gompers and John Mitchell

II. Role of Coal

A. Stoking the Fires of Capitalism

1. Railroads--coal provided the fuel for locomotives--but it was also instrumental in the manufacture of most railroad-related material, including the manufacture of the locomotives it powered, the rolling stock these locomotives pulled, and the rails that the trains ran on.

2. Skyscrapers--coal was instrumental in making the structural steel that allowed for the transformation of architecture, and the creation of the urban landscape as we know it.

3. Automobiles--coal was also instrumental in producing the main product that was responsible for effecting the emergence of another fossil fuel that dominated American life during most of the 20th century.

B. Growth of Coal Mining in the  19th Century

1. 1840--7,000 men were employed in mining coal in the United  States,  who mined 2 million tons
2. 1870--186,000 coal miners mined 37 million tons.
3. 1900--677,000 coal miners mined 350 million tons

C. Transformation of American life--coal powered the technological  change the transformed American life in the second half of the 19th century  and the first two decades of the 20th.

D. Capitalist enterprise in coal

1.  Intensification of capital--at the beginning of the 20th, the coal industry began a period of consolidation. In Colorado, for example, two companies, Victor Coal Company and Colorado Fuel and Iron (owned by the Rockefellers) mined most of the coal in that state.

2. Early stage of consolidation--in 1900, no one company owned more than 3% of the national market; but of America's 100 largest companies, a dozen were mining companies.

II. Life of Mother Jones

A. Mary Harris

1. Discrepancies in her life story

a. Birth date--According to Autobiography of Mother Jones, she was born May 1, 1830. According to her baptismal certificate in Cork, she was baptized in August of 1837. Her parents were not married until 1835. What explains this discrepancy? Although she was not as old as she claimed, she was advanced in years at the time this book was written, which may have effected her memory. As May 1 became identified with the labor movement, what could be more appropriate than the mother of the labor movement claiming that day as the one of her birth, as well? Her advanced age rendered her activities more weight, and allowed her to transcend the limitations that most women had to operate under during this time period.

2. Immigration

a. Potato Famine – it is likely that Mother Jones’ father and older brother left during the Potato Famine (1845-1847); between 1845 and 1853, over 200,000 people a year left Ireland for another country.

b. Immigration to Canada – it is likely that her father immigrated directly to Canada from Ireland—passage was less expensive the year he most likely left; in the 1850 US Federal Census he is listed in Vermont, but the family resided in Toronto, Canada.

3. Education – she attended a normal (teaching) college, but did not finish.

4. Pre-marriage work--Teacher at convent school in Monroe, Michigan. She also worked as a seamstress in Chicago. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Jones moved and became a school teacher in Memphis, TN

B. Mary Harris Jones

1. Married George Jones – in 1861, shortly after moving to Memphis, Mother Jones met and married iron molder and union member George Jones.

2. Raising a family – the Jones’ shortly had four children in their brief marriage, three girls and a boy

3. 1867 Yellow Fever Epidemic--Mary Jones lost all four children and her husband to the epidemic

4. Move back to Chicago--and worked as seamstress

5. Great Chicago Fire 1871

6. Period between 1871-1894 – the mystery period in the life of Mother Jones

7. 1877 Great Upheaval – may have been in Chicago, put she was not a leading figure in the strikes in Chicago as she claimed (probably a part of her persona).

8. 1886 Haymarket Square – although she disdains the politics of the Chicago anarchists, she upholds them as men of ideals, to be emulated

9. 1894 Coxey’s Army – her first real appearance as Mother Jones; she is part of an advance party for a western band of unemployed who are marching east to join up with Jacob Coxey for his march on Washington.

C. The Emergence of Mother Jones-- Mother Jones is able to use her age and gender to her advantage; because of her age she is able to act in ways that other women are restricted from.

1. Appeal to Reason – socialist newspaper which Mother Jones helped get off the ground; eventually had 750,000 subscribers, and often reached many more readers.

2. Radical political ideas appealed to a great number of people during this time period.

III. United Mine Workers

A. Founded-- January 1890, struggled to remain in existence during that decade, having to overcome a disastrous strike in 1894.

B. 1897 Central Competitive Field Strike--the Central Competitive Field stretched from western Pennsylvania to central Illinois. The strike began July 4,  1897 in response to attempts to implement a wage cut. The strike lasted until January 1898, but ended  in a union victory--a pay raise,  8-hour day, dues check-off, and union recognition.  The settlement also benefited operators, because the settlement helped end the cutthroat competition.

C. 1897 Eastern Pennsylvania Anthracite  Strike--miners in the anthracite district, not members of the UMW, went on strike because of wage cuts.  A  group of 200 marched  to a mine in Lattimer,  Pennsylvania to call miners there to join the strike; mine guards shot into the group, killing 19 miners.

D. John Mitchell--the UMW president, believed that the National Civic Federation was key for settling labor disputes--which is why he accepted the deal brokered by President Roosevelt that ended the strike without the anthracite operators recognizing the union as sole bargaining agent for the miners. Jones, on the other hand, argued that workers could only rely upon themselves, and the power they could claim by withholding their labor.

6. George F. Baer and the Divine Rights of Money

7. Theodore Roosevelt and the Strike Settlement

D. Women Workers and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

E. Ludlow

1. Coal Mining in Colorado

2. Coal Industry and Colorado Politics

3. The Colorado Coalfield War

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