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Ch 3: History of Labor Unions in the U.S.

About This Chapter

In this informative chapter on the history of U.S. labor unions, you'll find a mobile friendly and convenient study guide you can access 24 hours a day. Studying is flexible and fun when you take a look at our short and expertly designed video and text lessons.

History of Labor Unions in the U.S. - Chapter Summary

Take the stress out of studying the history of labor unions in the United States with our interesting chapter. Just a few of the subjects you'll find covered here include the history of U.S. organized labor, the National Trades' Union and worker's strike of 1834, and the conditions of labor during the Second Industrial Revolution. You can use the Dashboard to monitor your progress through the lessons and submit any questions you have to an instructor. Take a look at this chapter to ensure you're able to:

  • Identify the goals and history of the Knights of Labor
  • Summarize the Homestead Act of 1862
  • Discuss the Great Railroad Strike of 1877
  • Detail the significance of the Pullman Strike
  • Outline the Steel Strike of 1919 and the Textile Strike of 1934
  • Describe the issues involved in union development during WWI
  • Explore the strikes and inflation that took place after WWI
  • Explain the conflict in union development during WWII
  • Identify the issues affecting union development after WWII

17 Lessons in Chapter 3: History of Labor Unions in the U.S.
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.

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

5. 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.

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

6. 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.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

7. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

In 1877, the railroad companies were tightening their belts due to an economic depression. Their cuts, however, would ultimately spark a month-long strike against the industry. In this lesson, we will look at the events surrounding the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

Pullman Strike: Definition, Summary & Significance

8. 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.

The Boston Police Strike of 1919

9. The Boston Police Strike of 1919

This lesson will explore the Boston Police Strike of 1919, including the reasons for the strike itself, the effects on officers and society, and the outcomes of the strike. Upon completion, the reader should have a strong knowledge of the strike and the factors surrounding it.

The Steel Strike of 1919

10. The Steel Strike of 1919

The Steel Strike of 1919 set in motion battles between labor and big business that continue today. In this lesson, you will learn about what caused the strike and its historical importance to labor laws in the United States.

Textile Strike of 1934

11. Textile Strike of 1934

In this lesson, we will learn about the Textile Strike of 1934. We will identify the causes of the strike, highlight its key developments, and understand why it is an important historical event.

Union Development During WWI: Issues & Conflict

12. 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.

Inflation & Strikes After World War I

13. Inflation & Strikes After World War I

After returning from the war overseas, many Americans found higher prices and lower paying jobs. As a result, a number of strikes took place in 1919 that caused America to ask tough questions about the relationship of management and labor.

Union Development During WWII: Issues & Conflict

14. 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.

Issues in Post-WWII Union Development

15. 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.

Trends in Labor Relations: Membership & Industry

16. Trends in Labor Relations: Membership & Industry

Unions represent employees in their relationships with their employers. In this lesson, we'll take a look at current trends in union membership from across economic sectors, industries and demographics. A short quiz follows.

Modern Labor Union Trends, Membership & Practices

17. Modern Labor Union Trends, Membership & Practices

In this lesson, we'll define a union and discuss the participants in the process: employees, unions, and employers. We'll also explain why unions have been declining over the years.

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