They were among the most famous
of American literary figures, who's
books were read by millions.
Upton Sinclair who wrote "The
Jungle" in 1906 where he talked
about socialism and how beautiful
life would be if everyone worked
hard and shared the riches.
Other authors include...Jack
London, Theodore Dreiser, Frank
Norris, Ida Tarbell and Lincoln
Frederick W. Taylor was a steel
company foreman who worked out
a system of finely detailed division
of labor called Taylorism.
the purpose of it was to make
workers interchangeable, able to do
simple tasks that the new division
of labor required.
Taylorism with its simplified
unskilled jobs, became more
Lead to accidents like fires; most known incident was
at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company 146 stuck on the
top 3 floors women died.
In 1904 there were 27,000 deaths in manufacturing,
transport and agriculture. In New York alone there
were 50,000 accidents.
Hat and cap makers were getting respiratory diseases,
the men were inhaling deadly chemicals and some
even getting arsenic poisoning.
In 1914 there were 35,000 workers killed in industrial
accidents and 700,000 injured.
Lead to workers striking for better working conditions.
FEDERATION OF LABOR
Unions began forming, there was about 2 million members of
labor unions and 80% of them were in the American Federation
of Labor (AFL.)
Formed in 1886 by Samuel Gompers.
AFL focused on securing hight wages, better working conditions
and shorter work week for its members, who were only skilled
For the AFL racism was practical, African Americans only made
1/3 of earning of white workers and were excluded from AFL
Excluded women even though by 1910 there was 8 million in the
labor force and in AFL only 100 were members.
In June 1905, 200 members who were socialists, anarchists and
radical trade unionists from AFL united and created the
Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W) or “Wobblies”.
I.W.W aimed at organizing all workers in any
industry into "one big union", undivided by sex, race
Women, foreigners, black workers, lowliest and
most unskilled workers were included when a
factory or mine was organized.
Spoke of "direct action"...industrial democracy.
The I.W.W people were militant and courageous.
The wobblies traveled everywhere; they organized,
wrote, spoke, sand to spread their message.
In 1900 there were 500, 000 women office workers, they
were also switch board operators, store workers, nurses and
half a million were teachers.
Teachers had strict rules to follow...in one school board they
had to follow 10 rules which include: “don't get married,
don't dress in bright colors, don't dye your hair, don't loiter
downtown in ice cream stores or don't wear dresses more
then two inches above the ankle.”
Unions were also started by women workers such as: the
Teachers League, Women's Trade Union Industrial League
and began to strike.
Around the turn of the century strikes were multiplying...in
1904 there were 4,000 strikes a year.
Law and military force again and again took the side of
the rich, it was the time when hundreds of thousands
of Americans began to think of socialism.
Labor struggles could make things better but the
country's resources remained in the hands of powerful
corporations whose motives was profit, whose power
commanded the government of the United States.
Socialism moved out of the small circles of city
immigrants and became American.
The strongest Socialist state organization was in
Oklahoma in 1914.
Zinn, Howard, and Kang-ŭn Yu. Miguk Minjungsa =: a People's History of the United
States, 1492 - Present. Sŏul: Siul, 2006. Print.