Ch 3: American Labor History

About This Chapter

The lessons in the chapter take you back in time to explore the history and doctrines of the early labor unions. As you complete each lesson, take the quick self-assessment quiz to see what you have learned.

American Labor History - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Organized labor has played a significant role in U. S. History since the 1800s. The videos in this chapter will explore the early days of organized labor and then evaluate the role it has played since then. They will help you identify:

  • Early union development and associated philosophies
  • The Worker's Strike of 1834 and the National Trades' Union
  • Labor conditions and the battles with management during the Second Industrial Revolution
  • Knights of Labor
  • Formation of the AFL-CIO
  • Homestead Act of 1852 and the strike that ensued
  • The Pullman Strike
  • Union development from WWI to the present
  • Industrial unions

Video Objective
The History & Philosophies of Early Labor UnionsUnderstand the beginning of the union and labor philosophies like corporatist, uplift, revolutionary, business, and predatory unionism.
A Historical Outline of Organized Labor in the United StatesLook chronologically at the development of organized labor in the United States.
The National Trades' Union & Worker's Strike of 1834Learn how 'mill girls' inspired the formation of the first national organization of workers in 1834.
Labor Conditions During the Second Industrial RevolutionExplore the labor conditions existing during the Second Industrial Revolution and see how organized labor responded and reacted.
Labor Unions During the Second Industrial Revolution: Organized Labor vs. ManagementUnderstand the tensions between workers and management as workers and organized labor fought for 8-hour work days and equal pay.
The Knights of Labor: Definition, History, Goals & LeaderExplore the role of the Knights of Labor in the fight for fair work rules in the 1870s.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO): Status & Trends in MembershipSee how the Knights of Labor is replaced by the AFL-CIO and chart the status and trends in membership over the years.
What is the Homestead Act of 1852? - Definition & SummaryLearn why this strike is considered one of the most serious in U.S. labor history.
Pullman Strike: Definition, Summary & SignificanceLearn how company towns and poor working conditions combined to fuel this railroad strike in 1894.
Union Development During WWI: Issues & ConflictOutline the many challenges union development faced including the post-war economy and aggressive counter measures by employers.
Union Development During WWII: Issues & ConflictSee how unions grew during WWII as the public sector became organized, and review the collective bargaining issues of the time.
The Emergence & Significance of Industrial UnionsExamine the development and growth of industrial unions.
Issues in Post-WWII Union DevelopmentConsider the issues confronting labor and unions from WWII to present day.

13 Lessons in Chapter 3: American Labor History
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The History & Philosophies of Early Labor Unions

1. The History & Philosophies of Early Labor Unions

What is a labor union? Do all unions have the same mission? This lesson discusses the early history of labor unions in the United States and the various philosophies that distinguish one type of union from another.

A Historical Outline of Organized Labor in the United States

2. A Historical Outline of Organized Labor in the United States

In this lesson, you'll learn about the development of organized labor and unions in the United States and their current position in the United States economy. We'll also touch upon federal laws that have been developed regulating and protecting organized labor.

The National Trades' Union & Worker's Strike of 1834

3. The National Trades' Union & Worker's Strike of 1834

This lesson discusses the formation of the first National Trades Union and the Lowell workers' strike of 1834. It defines mill girls and journeyman, while also discussing the working conditions of early 19th-century America.

Labor Conditions During the Second Industrial Revolution

4. Labor Conditions During the Second Industrial Revolution

In the period between the Civil War and World War I, the American economy - supported by industry rather than agriculture - boomed. But, not everything glittered in the Gilded Age. Learn about the difficult, dangerous conditions of work during the Second Industrial Revolution.

Labor Unions During the Second Industrial Revolution: Organized Labor vs. Management

5. Labor Unions During the Second Industrial Revolution: Organized Labor vs. Management

Before American businesses had to comply with basic labor laws and safety regulations, workers organized to improve their working conditions. Learn about the early labor unions and their violent clashes with management and government.

The Knights of Labor: Definition, History, Goals & Leader

6. The Knights of Labor: Definition, History, Goals & Leader

Learn about one of the largest and most powerful labor unions of the 19th century, the Knights of Labor. In this lesson. we'll investigate the organization's history, leaders, and goals - as well as its rise and fall.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO): Status & Trends in Membership

7. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO): Status & Trends in Membership

While union membership is in relative decline, unions still represent a powerful force in American labor and politics. This is especially true of the AFL-CIO. In this lesson, you'll learn about the AFL-CIO, its history and current status.

What is the Homestead Act of 1862? - Definition & Summary

8. What is the Homestead Act of 1862? - Definition & Summary

Define the Homestead Act of 1862, learn about its historical origins, and understand the challenges individuals faced as they established property claims on the Great Plains during the 19th century.

Pullman Strike: Definition, Summary & Significance

9. Pullman Strike: Definition, Summary & Significance

The Pullman Strike of 1894 was one of the largest coordinated labor strikes in United States history. In this lesson, we'll discuss what provoked the strike, the response from businesses and the government, and the significance of the strike. A short quiz will follow to test your understanding.

Union Development During WWI: Issues & Conflict

10. Union Development During WWI: Issues & Conflict

In this lesson, you'll explore the part unions played during wartime and how they were perceived afterwards. You'll also get a crash course on the union-busting tactics used to reduce the power of organized labor.

Union Development During WWII: Issues & Conflict

11. Union Development During WWII: Issues & Conflict

Learn more about the powerful impact of World War II on organized labor, when membership reached its historical height in the U.S. Consider leverage of unions at the time and sectors in which they expanded.

The Emergence & Significance of Industrial Unions

12. The Emergence & Significance of Industrial Unions

Learn how industrial unions differed from other unions of the time and why their leaders were so passionate about them. Consider the impact of organization workers in entire industries rather than by skill alone.

Issues in Post-WWII Union Development

13. Issues in Post-WWII Union Development

In this lesson, you'll consider issues facing modern unions, as well as ways they have contributed to society. Consider the darker side of unions and contributing factors to the decline of U.S. union membership.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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