History of Labor and Work, 1880-1945

Paper Assignment 1

The economy and labor market of the United States underwent massive changes in the late 1800s. In the industrial north, a growing number of men, women, and children of different racial, ethnic, and occupational backgrounds became wage laborers. In the agricultural south, many former slaves also became wage laborers working for wealthy landowners and employers. One of the major issues in this time period was the conflict between these workers and their employers, the struggle between labor and capital. What were some of the major efforts by workers to form unions or political organizations to improve their jobs in the late 1800s? What were some of the social, cultural, and economic conditions that provided opportunities for workers to unite with one another? How did employers and government officials resist these efforts?

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Write a 4 to 5-page, double-spaced paper in 12-point font that addresses the questions posed above. Be sure to base your claims on the assigned readings, documents, and other materials covered in class during weeks 1 through 3. You should use some combination of the prologue and the first three chapters of Who Built America, Volume 2, Alex Gourevitch’s “Our Forgotten Labor Revolution,” Samuel Gompers’s “What Does Labor Want,” the selection from Andrew Carnegie’s The Gospel of Wealth, and the “Statement of Pullman Strikers.” Your paper should not mention every possible example from these materials, but adequately analyze and discuss the examples you choose. Your paper should follow standard grammar, punctuation, and citation methods (APA, MLA, or Chicago). Citation guides are in a module on the course Canvas site.

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