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Labor Unions, Immigrants, Reconstruction and American Industries



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    1. Choose one of the early labor unions to analyze. Explain its origins, its purposes and its results. Chap 14 Think about: reasons to form a union, short and long-term results As business leaders began to consolidate their forces, it seemed necessary for workers to do so as well. Even though northern wages were generally higher than southern wages, exploitation and unsafe working conditions drew workers together across regions in a national labor movement. Skilled and unskilled laborers, male and female, black and white, joined together in unions to try to improve their working conditions.

    Skilled workers had formed small, local unions since the late 1700s. One of the first large-scale labor unions was the National Labor Union (NLU). The NLU was founded in 1866, by an ironworker of the name William H. Sylvis. The NLU grew to a total of 640,000 members, and in 1868 the NLU persuaded congress to legalize an eight-hour workday for government employees. The National Labor Union also concentrated on linking local unions. Industry and government responded forcefully to union activity. They viewed the union activity as a threat to the capitalist system.

    The Great Strike of 1877, the Haymarket Affair, and the Homestead Strike were all strikes that turned violent due to formation of labor unions. These strikes all were trying to gain fair working conditions. The Great Strike of 1877 was workers from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad protesting their second pay cut in two months. This caused other railroads to get backed up and stop shipping, and transportation was stopped for a week. The strike ended when President Hayes stated that the strikers were impeding on interstate commerce, federal troops ended the strike.

    The Haymarket Affair was a violent strike protesting police brutality, and when the strike ended the public began to turn against the labor movement. The Homestead Act was a strike protesting the working conditions described at the Carnegie Steel Company’s Homestead plant in Pennsylvania. (The Americas) The more power unions gained from being on strike, put fear into the eyes of employers. Management refused to recognize unions as representatives of the workers. Many employers forbade union meetings, and fired union members. Sources: The Americans Class textbook. Danzer et. al 2.

    Define “new” immigrants. Define “old” immigrants. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s millions of people immigrated to the United States. Identify and explain several “push/pull” reasons people left their homelands. Chap 15 Think about: conditions in homeland, opportunities in the US In the 1900’s many immigrants came to American looking for freedom and a new start. Immigrants believed that coming to America would give them a better life. Many push and pull factors went into their decisions to leave their country and influenced their decision to come to America from Europe.

    The majority of the groups that traveled to the Americas were the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans. Europeans from Russia, Ireland, Italy, and Austria-Hungary, old immigrants, all traveled to America because of certain push factors. These people were driven away from their homelands because they believed that in order to have a better life they could no longer stay where they currently were. In Russia many of the people that came to America were Jewish. The Jewish population decided to leave due to their religious beliefs. Non-Jews were very judgmental of the Jewish religion.

    The Irish Potato famine in Ireland was another push factor in immigration. Famine was spreading and many people were dying. Both of these push factors caused a population boom in America, because everyone wanted to live in the “land of opportunity,” and believed that there was more of what they wanted (The Americans). There were also many pull factors that influenced immigrants to come to America. One main group was the Chinese, new immigrants, they came to America knowing that there were more job opportunities. They also wanted to be a part of the gold rush.

    Chinese believed they could come to America and strike it rich in the gold mines. When that didn’t work out, they took the jobs that the American people would not take because they were too dirty; like mining and building the railroads. Many people hired the Chinese because employers knew that they were good workers and would work for low wages. Throughout the 20th century many immigrants came to America for freedom and a fresh start. Every immigrant had either a push or pull factor that lead them to lead to America. Sources: The Americans Class textbook.

    Danzer et. al 3. Why, at the turn of the century, were white Southerners able to get away with discriminating against African Americans despite all of the laws and amendments that were passed during Reconstruction? Chap 16 A major issue throughout the United States was discrimination against the African American race. There were many reasons that the Southerners were getting away with this, even though there were several laws and amendments passed to try and prevent it. African Americans were already at the bottom of the social ladder.

    They were poorly educated, and they had a lesser chance to get into a good school or even get a good paying job. Plessy vs. Ferguson, was a well-known Supreme Court case that tried to fight for the equality of African Americans. The judge decided against them and all 7 votes went in favor of the white Southerners. The Jim Crow laws were created giving equality to African Americans by having the same transportation and use of public facilities and trying to give equal job opportunities. Despite the laws made, no laws could take away the prejudice attitude white Southerners had toward African Americans.

    There were many reasons that white Southerners were able to discriminate against African Americans despite all the laws against it (The Americans). There was an extreme amount of discrimination within the United States against African Americans. There were several laws and amendments passed, such as the Jim Crow Laws, and the Black Codes, that tried to prevent it from happening. The white Southerners were still able to discriminate despite all the laws made. Sources: The Americans Class textbook. Danzer et. al 4. Do you think the actions of the industrialists were more beneficial to the United States than they were harmful?

    Explain your answer. Chapter 14 Think about: business growth and the effects on the US, effects of industry on individuals, effects on economy I believe the actions of the industrialists were more beneficial to the United States than they were harmful. Many things helped the United States become more advanced than other countries, due to new inventions. Inventions that helped the United States are the telegraph, sewing machine, Diesel engine, typewriter, electric motor, telephone, Assembly line, light bulb, radio, and airplanes. These inventions helped modernize the country. Thomas A.

    Edison invented the light bulb, and it has benefited not only America, but also the whole world. The light bulb made it possible for the people to start doing activities after the sun goes down. Many of these activities include: sewing, reading, factory work, and other jobs that someone would need light to do. The invention of the light bulb completely changed the way people ran businesses. Electricity helped businesses and community by being able to employ more people to produce more of their products during the night, and started to run many machines off of electricity. This became a way to receive a greater amount of profits.

    This source of energy became available in homes and created timesaving appliances. The telephone was one of the most remarkable inventions, created by Alexander Graham bell and Thomas Watson in 1876. The telephone opened up a way to communicate with the whole world. The invention of the typewriter and the telephone created jobs for mostly women, by 1910 that accounted for almost 40% of the clerical work force. Many inventions also helped the work that was done in factories and jobs that were done at home like sewing. The inventions helped their standard of living (The Americans).

    Many people were able to work less because of all of this technology. The average work time in a week dropped ten hours. Railroads being built helped many people go father faster to do what they needed to do to live, like work or get food for the family. The economy was greatly impacted by all of the inventions that helped shaped the society of America into what it is today. Many people contributed to these amazing achievements and our great nation blossomed into a booming country because of all the hard work people like Thomas Edison put into the industrial revolution.

    Labor Unions, Immigrants, Reconstruction and American Industries. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from

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