Equality is a right


     Coal Strike 1902

 

Progressivism back in 1885-1915 was a pretty complicated time. A divide between the classes is what helped form the progressive party. Men and women back then did not have all of the rights that they deserved. Women did not have the right to vote, and in the workplace they certainly did not make as much as men did. But, there was one political party that believed women deserved the right to vote and deserved to be paid fairly for the work they did. They also believed that the working class/middle class deserved to have a say in how long they worked and what they were paid. The progressives wanted the middle class to be a very safe area, and thought they should have economic security and education.   Theodore Roosevelt was one of three consecutive presidents that believed in this idea. He, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson all pushed to reign in big business for reasons that they thought would help preserve our earth and keep our people safe and working for many years to come.

     One big thing that Theodore Roosevelt did, that really had an impact, was declaring that he strongly favored labor unions. Especially if he were a wage worker in a big city. This whole thing was brought about by the coal miners strike on May 12, 1902, where 140,000 miners walked off the job because they felt that they deserved to work less hours and have a pay increase. Doing this put a major pinch on factories of all kinds. It forced them to close, which put even more people without a job. Families were barely getting by because of the loss of their jobs. In some places it got so bad that families started cooking their food with oil soaked asbestos, which is common in old insulation and known for killing many people today.

     The progressives were not a very successful political party. They could not get the backing they needed to make a long term political party. Today there are only two political parties, and they do not have anything in common with the political parties back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Today I would not trust either party to make the needed regulations on how many hours we can/should work. I do believe the government should have regulations on minimum wage, safety and child labor because those things all should have a common basis throughout the workforce. Most people working in construction, in factories, as a teacher, or in an office should have common values when it comes to staying safe and minimum wages. But as a group, when it comes to hourly wages and hours worked, we should be able to form unions and groups to do what the majority of the people want.

10 thoughts on “Equality is a right

  1. It was very interesting how you talked about how the strikers may have impacted other workers in America. I can’t imagine that many of the employees who lost their jobs over the strikers would be very happy with them. I would almost be scared to strike because I would feel like I had a target painted on my back. Although strikers were very important in the early years of the United States!

    1. For some reason, I found it kind of funny since they literally just deuced out and wanted less work for more pay. At the time, that was just unheard of because the employers could just threaten to find others that would do the job but 140,000 of them walked out. How are you going to replace 140,000 workers in a short given time if you don’t decide to give them what they want?

  2. I would agree with your statement that progressivism in the late 19th century and early 20th century was complicated. there were so many facets, the conditions were made right by the presidents of the time as you mentioned, the general populace had become fed up with the status quo, and half of our population wasn’t allowed to vote on the sole basis of gender. That’s not to mention that the Union labor movement had been surging. all of these factors combined to make a perfect storm. It would almost seem that we should be on the cusp of another era of progressivism.

  3. I think its very interesting the different topic can create such a great flow of conversations and such. I really think as we look at the labor laws of the past and how we can create such great laws to help and to provide safe conditions for our workers. Also think think we change our prospective on new laws when we look at the past and what worked and what didn’t work and to help us change as a whole and to help educate the employees and the employers.

  4. I never knew which presidents believed in the idea of progressivism. I think that presidents, like Theodore Roosevelt, that take a stand allow others to look at different reforms that the Progressives had in mind in a different way. It’s sad that the Progressive party wasn’t long lasting, as some of the ideas they had could prove very beneficial.

  5. That is unfortunate that the Progressives did not have the political backing that they could have used and I think that has something to do with the fact that it was heavily women that made up the group, and during that time that obviously could’ve been a big reason people didn’t really support them. They couldn’t even vote. The coal strike was huge because if you take coal out of the industrial revolution you probably wouldn’t have to call it a revolution… It affected so many things.

    1. It is interesting that the Progressives could not gain the political backing they needed as a political party. But they did manage to do great things and make great progress. Progressives focused on Policy, they believed in good government. They achieved many things regarding labor laws for children and women. You put forward an interesting thought about maybe the fact that because so many Progressives were women that it is why they did not gain much political support. I truly never thought of that and think it would be an extremly intresting theory to look into.

  6. I agree that neither party today is capable of the change that citizens want or need. The progressives I believe, while short lived, made a huge impact in America that helped paved the way for the future of America.

  7. I didn’t know that Teddy Roosevelt favored labor unions since again, he was a wage worker. Also, the mine workers that walked off the job. For some reason, I found it kind of funny since they literally just deuced out and wanted less work for more pay. At the time, that was just unheard of because the employers could just threaten to find others that would do the job but 140,000 of them walked out. How are you going to replace 140,000 workers in a short given time if you don’t decide to give them what they want?

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