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Great Railroad Strike Essay

1397 words - 6 pages

TarczukTHE GREAT RAILROAD STRIKE OF 1877GARRETT TARCZUKUS HISTORY HONORSMRS. FRANCO30 OCTOBER 2013"Eighty thousand railroad workers walked out, joined by hundreds of thousands of Americans--white and black, native- and foreign-born, employed and unemployed--all outraged by the excesses of the giant railroad companies" (www.msa.maryland.gov). The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 united this country's working class more that it had ever been before. The average citizens in the United States started to work together for a common cause. Large railroad companies' treatment of its employees caused of The Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Employees of the large railroad companies, like when of strike for two major reasons; receive their original wages back and to improve their working conditions on the railroads. All workers who prior to the depression that made more than a dollar a day received a ten percent cut in their wage. They became ever more united together because now all of them struggled to get enough money. This caused them to act out against the companies; the strike of 1877 had just begun. By the end of The Great Railroad strike of 1877 the strikers never received better working conditions or higher pay. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 would have been a success had the strikers been more unified and stuck together during their final act against the large corporations.The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 is actually several smaller strikes which lead up to a very large all industry strike in St. Louis. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 started at the Baltimore and Ohio Station in Martinsburg on the day of July 17th, 1877. The workers had received a ten percent reduction in pay. The workers before the reduction had been making $1.75 a day, astonishing only $0.15 an hour. One dollar in 1877 would be equivalent to $21 now. They worked about twelve hours a day with very little if any breaks. The employees worked in conditions that threatened their life every day. Common injuries of a railroad worker include: loss of hands, feet, and fingers. Men that are not paying attention could get crushed between two cars. They workers could not live off that; therefore, they started to rebel.Their first revolt on July 17th had been violent. The workers uncoupled the trains and sent the back to the station. This made the governor send for the militia. The workers demanded that there ten percent wage cut be removed or no trains would leave the station. The governor tried to get the trains out but they were derailed by the strikers. This made the militia act and they started to fire at the around and they shot a man who later got his arm amputated but nine days later he died. This is the first accounted dead because of The Great Railroad Strike of 1877.By now the strikers had six hundred trains stuck in Martinsburg. This had now become a major issue and the governor sent for help from President Rutherford Hayes. He said that the state militia cannot be counted on...

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