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THE LABOR MOVEMENT:
THE PROBLEM OF TO-DAY,
THE HISTORY, PURPOSE AND
PECTS OF THE LABOR QUESTION.
GEORGE EL MCNEIL, - - EDITOR,
TERENCE V. POWDERLY,
ation of Labor, N. A. DUNNING,
NEW YORK :
Copyright 1891, by
This book is sold only by subscription through our authorized agents. It can neve
THE worker, the thinker, the student, the statesman and
1 the capitalist are all forced, by the pressure of events, to consider the Labor Movement and the Labor Problem. All are witnesses of the power of combination for good or evil. All may know that systems of industry change by slow, evolving processes, and that these processes of growth culminate in crises of mighty import. The capitalist, seeking profit or gain, and the worker, seeking better and easier condition, may work as partners, with common interests, or wage unrelenting war for the mastery. That the victory will come to the side of justice and equity, is the certain prophecy of history.
This book is an attempt to contribute something to the peaceful solution of the Labor problem. The history of the Labor Movement is the history of civilization. It has manifested itself in all times and under all conditions of life. The eternal query of life is, How to obtain comfort? The prayer, " Give us this day our daily bread,” is uttered by Pagan and Christian alike; and this demand for sustenance is supplemented by the hope for equity. So long as outward evidences of aggregate prosperity are present, we are apt to forget or neglect to know the conditions of some of those who contribute to the results. In Europe, the frequent and almost continuous periods of distress have compelled attention ; and philanthropist, statesman and student have done much, especially in England and France, to provide a literature covering almost every phase of the movement. Dr. Edmund J. James, of the University of Pennsylvania, has so admirably condensed that history in his three chapters of this book, as to need no editorial comment. In this country, the extent
of our territory, the variety of our pursuits, and the form of government have tended to lead us to overlook and underestimate the importance of the Labor movement. It is only when some great strike has checked the wheels of material progress that our business-crazed community has stopped to think. We claim for our work an earnestness of purpose to find the causes, to trace the movement, and to point out some of the measures that will culminate in a Republic of Labor. The history that we present is the compilation of such facts as could be gathered from records of labor organizations, newspapers and pamphlets, and from the varied experiences of a large number of thinking men in all parts of the country.
The growth of the national and international labor-unions, trades-assemblies, central-trades and labor-unions and tradescongresses, have furnished much of the more recent history. These efforts to unite the men of all trades under one central body have been supplemented by the most wonderful organization of modern times, — the Knights of. Labor. Its history is largely secret, and we are permitted to present only that part of its work which is open to public view. Its declaration of principles is a bill of grievances and a platform of measures, as broad as human hopes and desires, and it is built in symmetry of proportion, like the pyramid, to remain an enduring monument of human intelligence and human effort.
In this volune, we have stated the laborers’ side of the question; and, while making no claim for a scientific presentation of the whole question, we have presented what will be provocative, we trust, of a deeper investigation, and a more thorough appreciation of the relation of man to man, regardless of conditions, or opportunities of immediate gain, — believing that the security of all that is good is achieved when all are participators in the full enjoyment of the opportunities of civilization.
The chapters devoted to the history of the various organizations of labor were compiled from information received from their accredited officers. The history of the Knights of Labor was mainly furnished by the six surviving founders of
the Order. To all who have in any way assisted us in this work, we tender our grateful acknowledgments, and especially to the North American Review, for granting us the privilege of republishing Mr. Powderly's article, " The Army of the Unemployed.”
In addition to those who contributed, and whose names appear on the title-page, it is the pleasurable duty of the Editor to here express his thanks for valuable contributions, to Thomas B. Barry, member of General Executive Board K. of L.; Josiah B. Dyer, Secretary Granite Cutters' National Union; George C. Block, Secretary Journeymen Bakers' National Union ; Joseph Wilkinson, Secretary Journeymen Tailors' Association; Thomas O'Dea, Secretary Bricklayers' and Masons' International Union; H. Emrich, Secretary International Furniture Workers' Union; J. T. Elliott, Secretary Brotherhood of Painters; W. S. Higbie, Secretary National Silk and Fur Hat Finishers' Association; T. J. Curran, President Boiler Makers' and Helpers' Protective and Benevolent Union; H. H. Lane, Secretary National Wood Carvers' Union“; Archibald M. Taylor, National Secretary of United States Wool Hat Finishers’ Association ;. Joseph Dean, Corresponding Secretary of New York Stereotypers' Union; Louis Arrington, Manager of Improved Druggists' Ware Glass Blowers' League; E. F. O'Shea, Secretary and Treasurer of Brotherhood of Railroad Brakemen ; E. V. Debs, Secretary and Treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen ; James B. Graham, of New York; Joseph R. Buchanan, Denver, Col.; Henry J. Skeffington, Philadelphia, Pa.; Dr. S. S. Robie and E. H. Rogers, of Boston.