The Great Strikes Of 1877

Overview

A spectacular example of collective violence, the Great Strikes of 1877 was the first national strike and the first major strikes against the railroad industry. In some places, notably St. Louis, non-railroad workers also abandoned city businesses, creating one of the nation’s first general strikes. Mobilizing hundreds of thousands of workers, the Great Strikes of 1877 transformed the nation’s political landscape, shifting the primary political focus from Reconstruction to labor, capital, and the changing role of...

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Overview

A spectacular example of collective violence, the Great Strikes of 1877 was the first national strike and the first major strikes against the railroad industry. In some places, notably St. Louis, non-railroad workers also abandoned city businesses, creating one of the nation’s first general strikes. Mobilizing hundreds of thousands of workers, the Great Strikes of 1877 transformed the nation’s political landscape, shifting the primary political focus from Reconstruction to labor, capital, and the changing role of the state. Including essays by distinguished historians exploring the social, political, regional, and ethnic landscape of the Great Strikes of 1877, this collection investigates long-term effects on state militias and national guard units; ethnic and class characterization of strikers; pictorial depictions of poor laborers in the press; organizational strategies employed by railroad workers; participation by blacks; violence against Chinese immigrants; and the developing tension between capitalism and racial equality in the United States.

Contributors include Joshua Brown, Steven J. Hoffman, Michael Kazin, David Miller, Richard Schneirov, David O. Stowell, and Shelton Stromquist.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Stowell, author of the definitive Streets, Railroads and the Great Strike of 1877 brings together social historians who examine how the strikes created a shift in the pictorial stereotyping of workers in the pages of illustrated newspapers; the railroad strikes in Hornellsville, New York; how the 'Battle of Halsted Street' revitalized the labor movement in Chicago politics; strike fears and agitation in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville; details of the strike in San Francisco, where Chinese immigrants were the target; and the effect of the strikes on Hispanic and Mexican-American labor and racial issues in southern California."--C&RL News

"These insightful essays let us glimpse the nation's first responses, its initial stumbling steps in a painful, sometimes bloody process of adjustment that, in many ways, occupies the nation to this day."--Business History Review

“As many historians consider the strikes of 1877 to be the beginning of the organized labor movement in the United States, the lessons learned from this epic can serve to educate activists of today, and Stowell’s work provides a concise guide.”--Labor Studies Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252032417
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Series: Working Class in American History
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David O. Stowell is an independent scholar and author of Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction   David O. Stowell     1
The Great Uprising and Pictorial Order in Gilded Age America   Joshua Brown     15
"Our Rights as Workingmen": Class Traditions and Collective Action in a Nineteenth-Century Railroad Town, Hornellsville, N.Y., 1869-82   Shelton Stromquist     55
Chicago's Great Upheaval of 1877: Class Polarization and Democratic Politics   Richard Schneirov     76
Looking North: A Mid-South Perspective on the Great Strike   Steven J. Hoffman     105
The July Days in San Francisco, 1877: Prelude to Kearneyism   Michael Kazin     136
California's Changing Society and Mexican American Conceptions of the Great Strike   David Miller     164
Contributors     189
Index     191
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