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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Andrew Carnegie Plays a Double Role

The millionaire industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie represented the conflicting roles played by the late nineteenth-century's "captains of industry." One of the era's most generous philanthropists, Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth held that [...]

An American Railway Union Strike Halts Cross-Country Trade

In 1894, the American Railway Union organized a national boycott and strike against all trains hauling Pullman Cars in response to a strike called by workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company. The strike spread across the nation. Strikers were met [...]

"The Tournament of Today - A Set-to Between Labor and Monopoly"

This 1883 cartoon from the satirical magazine Puck imagines a medieval-style joust between working people and the industrialists and railroad owners who largely controlled the U.S. economy in the late nineteenth century. The spectators in the [...]

The President of the B&O Railroad Announces Wage Cuts

After the Panic of 1873 plunged the U.S. economy into a severe and lasting depression, corporations such as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company found themselves cutting costs, usually by reducing employees' wages, as this letter from the [...]

A Company Town Faces Starvation during the Pullman Strike

George Pullman, owner of the Pullman Palace Car Company, exemplified the paternalistic "welfare capitalist." Believing that labor unrest was caused by poor pay and living conditions, he initially paid his workers high wages and housed them in a [...]

Flyer for WTO Protest in Seattle

The grassroots organization, People for Fair Trade, sought to mobilize a mass turnout to protest the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle, WA. This flyer, "No Globalization Without Representation" was part of their efforts.

Female Union Members Challenge Post-War Job Discrimination

When World War II ended, the large numbers of women who had taken industrial jobs during the war were forced out. Employers sought not only to give their jobs to returning veterans, but also to reassert the division of labor that had operated [...]

The CIO Promotes Anti-Discrimination Legislation during World War II

This billboard advertisement, dating from the early 1940s, suggests the common ground shared by the labor and civil rights movements. Created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the more progressive of the country's two main labor [...]

Calvary Escorting Meat Train Protected by Infantry from the Chicago Stock Yards During Strike

The Pullman Strike began on May 11, 1894, when Pullman Palace Car Company workers walked off the job in response to severe wage cuts; members of Eugene V. Debs' American Railway Union soon joined in by refusing to work in Pullman cars. U.S. Army [...]

"Straighten Up - And Come Right Down to the March on Washington Movement"

This poster, from A. Philip Randolph's planned March on Washington in 1941, illustrates several issues central to the march. The threat of a large-scale public protest persuaded President Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802, which banned [...]

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