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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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The New York Times Predicts a Railroad Strike, 1885

This New York Times article from September 1885 makes reference to the tensions that existed between organized labor and Chinese immigrant workers on the Union Pacific and other railroad lines. According to the article, the Knights of Labor, the [...]

The New York Times Describes Racial Unrest on the Railroads

A New York Times article from 1889 describes another instance of racially-based labor unrest on the railroads. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a group of African-American railroad laborers spontaneously strike to protest the dismissal of a black [...]

An African-American Newspaper Defends the Shirtwaist Strikebreakers

The New York Age was an African-American newspaper founded by Timothy Thomas Fortune, a civil rights leader and journalist. This excerpt from an editorial on the 1909 New York City shirtwaist maker's strike defends the paper's decision to run [...]

A "Southern Gentleman" Describes Problems in the Confederacy

The Staunton, Virginia Spectator was a Whig newspaper that opposed Virginia's secession from the Union. On March 19, 1861, the paper published the following anonymous letter that warned Virginians about the the rising prices, violence, and isolation [...]

A Virginia Newspaper Rallies to the Secessionist Cause

The Republican Vindicator was (despite its name) a Democratic newspaper in Augusta County, Virginia that generally supported the cause of secession from the Union. In this editorial published on January 4, 1861, the paper's editors respond to the [...]

Anti-Federalists Oppose Slavery Provisions in Constitution

Slavery was one of the most divisive issues in the debates over whether or not to ratify the Constitution. Although the constitution banned the importation of slaves beginning in 1808, it did not restrict the continued use and ownership of slaves, [...]

Slaveowners Fear the Haitian Revolution Has Arrived in Charleston

In the American South, slaves were typically dispersed among large populations of armed and vigilant whites. As a result, there were few large-scale, armed slave rebellions there. This was not the case in the West Indies, where plantation owners [...]

A Massachusetts Yeoman Opposes the "Aristocratickal" Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. This letter gives a sense of the opposition of many Anti-Federalists to what they perceived as the [...]

Massachusetts Anti-Federalists Take a Skeptical View of Federal Power

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Democracy was yet a largely untried experiment, and those who pondered what form the new constitution should [...]

A Son of Liberty Lists His Objections to the New Constitution

After delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia finished their work and adopted the U.S. Constitution in September, 1787, it remained for the states to ratify it. Vigorous debates took place in all of the thirteen states. This [...]