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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

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

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…

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Item Type: Biography/Autobiography
Date: 1898

In the 19th century, Asian Americans faced widespread hostility. In this 1898 flyer, the labor movement claimed that Asian-American workers "[lowered] standards of living and of morals." Particularly in the West, union organizers agitated for the exclusion of Chinese and Japanese workers, who provided a source of cheap labor in the fields of…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1898

These excerpts from a 1902 American Federation of Labor pamphlet argue for a second extension of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The pamphlet, entitled Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion: Meat vs. Rice, alleged that the supposed willingness of Chinese and other Asian workers to accept inferior living conditions and lower wages made it impossible…
Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. League members believed that working women needed help to gain better wages and working conditions, and that all women shared important values and goals. This seal…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1903

This photograph, taken during a labor parade in New York City in 1909, shows two young women wearing banners that read "Abolish Child Slavery!" in English and Yiddish. Jewish immigrants were especially active in many labor causes at the turn of the century, including the fight against child labor.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1909

Clara Lemlich ignited the 1909 walkout of shirtwaist makers with her call for a general strike. This piece was first published in the New York Evening Journal, November 28, 1909.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1909

Founded in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was an organization that brought together working-class women, reformers, and women from wealthy and prominent families. The WTUL believed that the best way to help women workers was to help them organize into labor unions so that they could bargain for fair pay and safe working conditions.…