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Knights Of Labor Essay

1367 words - 6 pages

The increase in labour movements in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century helped define the rights of workers. Among the many unions that made an impact to this movement were the well-known Knights of Labor. Starting in 1869, the Knights of Labor were extremely influential in society until their decline that stretched out into the first decade of the 1900s (Palmer, 1992, p. 122). In that time though, they were able to make an immense difference within labour markets. Their popularity allowed them to relay their principles of humanity to society. The Knights of Labor were one of the most prominent groups during their time of relevance in the late 19th and early 20th century. Their leadership shaped society for the better while also inspiring current and future workers to realize their worth and rights.
The rise and fall of the Knights of Labor is illustrated as one of the most impactful moments in the Canadian labour movements history. Although their high significance in society was short-lived, they made a lasting impact on society. The Knights of Labor started off in Philadelphia as a small and secretive group under the leadership of Uriah Stephens in 1869 (Palmer, 1992, p. 122). They only acquired further recognition after leadership turned over to Terence V. Powderly, who turned the Knights of Labor into a union unlike any before. Although the Knights of Labor never had any explicit record, they were estimated to have had over two million people over time, which was unprecedented at the time for a secular organization (Grob, 1958, p. 186). The Knights gained popularity by their flexible membership values, which was open to most working citizens. This was just one of many initiatives that separated the Knights of Labor from other unions at the time. The Knights of Labor’s popularity also grew through their use of media, specifically newspapers. Through their most popular newspaper, the Palladium of Labour, the Knights were able to acquire many experienced and talented workers (Goutor, February 4th 2014, Knights of Labor Part 1). Much like groups today, the Knights of Labor’s use of media helped them exceed over the popularity of other organizations.
The Knights of Labor identified themselves as an organization that impacts society more than just through the working conditions of the working class. Their unique membership ideals and values also separated them from other unions at the time. They expressed this ideology by influencing life at home through changes made in the workplace. The Knights fundamentally believed in having a heightened sense of humanity in and out of the workplace. Their primary concern the Knights had been to make sure that work was not degrading dehumanizing for the workers (Palmer, 1987, p. 64). This philosophy of support was not only available for skilled workers as it had been for other unions at the time, but even unskilled workers were welcomed into the Knights of Labor (Grob, 2958, p. 180). Furthermore, the...

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