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A massive labor strike in 1877 shook the very foundations of American politics and society. Starting with a spontaneous railroad strike in West Virginia, the “Great Uprising” spread rapidly across the country. In many cities, entire working populations went out on strike. When state and federal troops fired on workers in several cities,…
In this activity, students watch a short clip from the ASHP documentary 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation to learn about the impact of railroad expansion on Americans and the nation as a whole. After watching the clip, students complete the “Technological Turning Points and their Impact” worksheet in order to examine the positive and…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2011

A nationwide rebellion brought the United States to a standstill in the summer of 1877. Eighty thousand railroad workers walked off the job, joined by hundreds of thousands of Americans outraged by the excesses of the railroad companies and the misery of a four-year economic depression. Peter H. Clark, an African-American school principal and…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1877

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and never become useful members…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: Circa 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and never become useful members…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: Circa 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1896

These worksheets help students plan their characters for the role play "To Strike or Not to Strikein 1830s Lowell." Also included is a rubric that students and teachers can use to evaluate the role play as it is performed.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2011

Painter and lithographer Robert Koehler emigrated to the U.S. from Germany with his parents—a skilled machinist and a sewing teacher—when he was four years old. Koehler painted The Strike in 1886 while living in Munich, and drew on scenes of industrial workers in England and Belgium. He was inspired by the massive 1877 strike wave in…

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Item Type: Hyperlink
Date: 1886

Harriet Hanson Robinson began work in Lowell at the age of ten, later becoming an author and advocate of women's suffrage. In 1834 and 1836, the mill owners reduced wages, increased the pace of work, and raised the rent for the boardinghouses. The young female workers went on strike (they called it “turning out” then) to protest the decrease…

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Item Type: Biography/Autobiography
Date: 1898