Great Railroad Strike Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Great Railroad Strike?
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was a major labor dispute which spanned the United States and marked the first nationwide labor strike in US history. The strike began on July 14th, 1877, when workers at the Baltimore & Ohio (B) Railroad, frustrated by a reduction in wages, refused to work. This action quickly spread throughout the nation’s railroad system, as other workers joined in solidarity across cities such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Chicago. The strike began to take on a life of its own and soon included general strikes and riots that impacted industries such as coal mining and manufacturing.At its core, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was an expression of worker dissatisfaction with their employers’ refusal to negotiate with them over wages following several years of economic downturns. In addition to lower pay than they had seen before, railroad workers also complained about long hours without overtime pay or benefits such as vacation time or sick days. With no apparent solution forthcoming from managementand no hope for relief from local governmentsworkers finally took matters into their own hands by organizing together in protest. As news of the strike spread throughout the country via newspapers and telegraphs, more workers began to join it; eventually it affected dozens of different railroads operating in more than twenty states across America.As both sides found themselves at an impasseand with public sentiment generally sympathetic to the strikers’ plighteventually President Rutherford B. Hayes had to step in by sending federal troops into some areas where violence had broken out between strikers and police forces or state militias that had been tasked with breaking up protests (most infamously occurring during what became known as the Battle of Martinsburg). While this intervention did restore order temporarily, it did not address any grievances raised by workers nor resulted in any long-term changes favorable towards them; after all was said and done most employees returned back to work without achieving anything close to what they wanted initially (in terms of higher wages). All told while The Great Railroad Strike ultimately failed due to a lack resources or support from government officials & local authorities alikeit nonetheless set off shockwaves within American society that acted as harbingers for future labor disputes throughout industrializing America well into 20th century; including inspiring workers everywhere who saw how powerful collective action could be even when faced against seemingly unbeatable odds like those posed by large corporations & wealthy business owners alike during this period of American history .