Calvinism, with its message of stark but reassuring order in the divine plan, fed on this social unrest and provided spiritual comfort to the economically disadvantaged. As time went on, Puritans grew increasingly unhappy over the snail-like progress of the Protestant Reformation in England. They burned with pious zeal to see the Church of England wholly de-catholicized. The most devout Puritans, including those who eventually settled New England, believed that only "visible saints" (that is, persons who felt the stirrings of grace in their souls and could demonstrate its presence to their fellow Puritans) should be admitted to church membership. But the Church of England enrolled all the king's subjects, which meant that the "saints" had to share pews and communion rails with the "damned." Appalled by this unholy fraternizing, a tiny group of dedicated Puritans, known as Separatists, vowed to break away entirely from the Church of England. Officially known as the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, it began inauspiciously in 1869 as a secret society,The Knights of Labor, like the National Labor Union,
sought to include all workers in "one big union." Their
slogan was. An injury to one is the concern of all." A welcome mat was rolled out for the skilled and unskilled, for men and women, for whites and under-privileged blacks, some ninety thousand of whom joined. The Knights barred only "non-producers" -liquor dealers, professional gamblers, lawyers, bankers, and stockbrokers. Setting up broad goals, the embattled Knights refused to thrust their lance into politics. Instead they campaigned for economic and social reform, including producers' cooperatives and codes for safety and health. Voicing the war cry. Labor is the only creator of values and capital," they frowned upon industrial warfare while fostering industrial arbitration. The ordinary workday was then ten hours or more, and the Knights waged a determined campaign for the eight-hour stint.
The elitist American Federation of Labor, born in 1886, was largely the brainchild of squat, square-jawed Samuel Gompers.It consisted of an association of self-governing national unions, each of which kept its independence, with the AF of L unifying overall strategy. No individual laborer as such could join the central organization.Promoting
what he called a "pure and simple" unionism, he sought better wages, hours, and working conditions.Promoting
what he called a "pure and simple" unionism, he sought
better wages, hours, and working conditions.Although attempting to speak for all workers, it fell far short of being representative of them. Composed of skilled craftsmen, like the carpenters and the bricklayers, it was willing to let unskilled laborers, including women and especially blacks, fend for themselves. Though hard-pressed by big industry, the federation was basically nonpolitical.
The National Labor Union, organized in 1866, represented a giant boot-stride by workers. The union lasted six years and attracted the impressive total of some 600,000 members, including the skilled, unskilled, and farmers, though in keeping with the times, it excluded the Chinese and made only nominal efforts to include women and blacks.Black workers organized their own Colored National Labor Union as an adjunct, but their support for the Republican party and the persistent racism of white unionists prevented the two national unions from working together. The National Labor Union agitated for the arbitration of industrial disputes and the eight-hour workday, and won the latter for government workers. But the devastating depression of the
1870's dealt it a knockout blow.
But in the 1880's, the character of the immigrant stream changed drastically. The so-called New Immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe. Among them were Italians, Croats, Slovaks, Greeks, and Poles; many of them worshiped in orthodox churches or synagogues. They came from countries with little history of democratic government, where people had grown accustomed to cringing before despotism and where opportunities for advancement were few. Largely illiterate and impoverished, most new immigrants preferred to seek industrial jobs in jam-packed cities rather than move out to farms,These new peoples totaled only 19 percent of the in-pouring immigrants in the 1880's, but by the first decade of the twentieth century, they constituted an astonishing 66 percent of the total inflow. They hived together in cities like New York and Chicago, where the "Little Italy's" and "Little Poland's" soon claimed more inhabitants than many of the largest cities of the same
nationality in the Old World. Some Americans feared
that these New Immigrants would not-or could not-
assimilate to life in their new land. They left their native countries because Europe seemed to have no room for them.
1st EditionJohn Lund, Paul S. Vickery, P. Scott Corbett, Todd Pfannestiel, Volker Janssen 9th EditionEric Hinderaker, James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, Robert O. Self 9th EditionJackson J. Spielvogel