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Internet Resources for Learning About the Labor and Industry in America

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trail
It was a warm spring Saturday in New York City, March 25, 1911. On the top three floors of the ten-story Asch Building just off of Washington Square, employees of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory began putting away their work as the 4:45 p.m. quitting time approached. Most of the several hundred Triangle Shirtwaist employees were teenage girls. Most were recent immigrants. Many spoke only a little English. Standards 11.2.1 and 11.2.2

Triangle Factory Fire
This is Cornell University online exhibit on the fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 young immigrant workers, is one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This incident has had great significance to this day because it highlights the inhumane working conditions to which industrial workers can be subjected. To many, its horrors epitomize the extremes of industrialism. The tragedy still dwells in the collective memory of the nation and of the international labor movement. Standards 11.2.1 and 11.2.2

Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
History of American Sweat Shops 1820-Present

This set of pictures of sweat shops from the Smithsonian shows the underside of the American garment industry. Click on the small graphic and it expands with an explanation from the exhibit at the Smithsonian. Standards 8.12.5, 8.12.6 and 11.2.1

Labor-Management Conflict in American History - The Homestead Strike
The late 19th century marked major changes in the relationship between business and labor in America. Here are primary source pictures and news articles from the Homestead Strike and the Haymarket Riot. There are also essays on the Molly Maguires and the Coke Region troubles. Standards 8.12.5, 8.12.6 and 11.2.1

George Westinghouse Museum
George Westinghouse, Jr., the son of a man who made farm machinery in New York, may have been the most productive inventor on record. He helped perpetuate the Industrial Revolution with his instinctive drive to resolve social and commercial obstacles. George's creations changed the way society lived and how people traveled, perhaps more than any single individual. Standard 8.12.9

Industrial Revolution - A Virtual Museum
This site is a unit on the Industrial Revolution. It provides a secondary resource for students as well as activities. Some activities are specifically for Alaskan students. The activities are designed to relate the past to the present. Standards 2.4.1 and 8.12.1, 8.12.4, 8.12.5 and 8.12.6

Robber Barons
This disapproving term was used to describe late-nineteenth-century industrialists, especially those who ostentatiously displayed their wealth. It was applied to industrial leaders and corporations of the late nineteenth century, such as Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Steel, John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, and Cornelius and William Vanderbilt and their railroads. Emphasizing efficiency, these men used increasingly modern practices like large-scale, specialized production in place of decentralized methods. They also practiced "vertical integration," controlling not only the manufacturing and sale of the final product but also the raw resources.

Steel Strike of 1919
This is a set of primary sources on the 1919 Steel Strike assembled by the Chicago Metro History Center for History Day 2000. Contents include: a print of a rolling mill, circa 1900; letters between E. Gary, President of U.S. Steel and the Steel Workers Committee; a Call to Strike Leaflet; a newspaper facsimile with headline "Strikes at Big Steel"; an address by John Fitzpatrick, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor to the Illinois State Federation of Labor; a newspaper map indicating location of strikes across the nation; a report from William Z. Foster, organizer for the steelworkers, on number of men out in September and December; testimony from young African-American man sent out as a strike breaker; and a leaflet from steelworkers’ committee calling men to return to their jobs. Standard 8.12.6, 11.2.2 and 12.4.1 economics

Lower Manhattan Project:
Observations of Life in Lower Manhattan at the Turn of the Century

Collection of articles and documentary sources describing city life in the working class tenements of New York at the end of the 19th century. Standards 8.12.5, 11.2.2 and 11.12.7

One Big Union-One Big Strike: The Story of the Wobblies
Early in the 20th century, the Industrial Workers of the World, called the "Wobblies," organized thousands of immigrant and unskilled workers in the United States. The union eventually failed, but it helped shape the modern American labor movement. Learn more through reading this Constitutional Rights Foundation article on the Wobblies. Standard 8.12.6 and 11.2.1

Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Monopoly
Following the Civil War, few laws limited how businesses went about making money. In building the giant Standard Oil monopoly, John D. Rockefeller made up his own rules. Standards 8.12.4, 11.2.5 and 12.2.5

Socialist Eugene V. Debs Speaks, 1904
Part of the Voices of the 20th Century site, hear the voice of Eugene Debs' in a presidential campaign speech for the pro-labor cause in 1904. Socialist Eugene V. Debs was one of the major players in American politics at the turn of the century. He made five attempts to gain the presidency - in 1900, 1904, 1908 1912 and 1920 - all as the standard bearer of the Socialist Party. Standards 8.12.6, 11.2.4, and 12.9.1 civics

Tenement Virtual Reality
Visit two New York tenement "apartments" as they appeared at 97 Orchard St. in the 1870's and 1930's, using navigable QuickTime VR panoramas. There are also articles about the history of the time and the families who lived in these apartments. Standards 8.12.5, 8.12.6 and 11.2.2

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