Rise of the American Labor Movement

Megan Unseth

Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius grew up as a poor child. When he was 16 he gained 100 dollars landscaping and gained his fathers land. With the 100 dollars, Cornelius began a passenger ferry business in New York with one boat. He shipped passengers and dry food between Staten Island and Manhattan. He was then known as a good sailor and his business grew. He started his own steamship company. During the war of 1812 he was awarded with a military contract to ship supplies for the army. In the 1860's railroads began to grow and he took advantages of it. He then provided the first rail service between New York and Chicago. With his invention he gained a lot of money and made transportation faster. One of his quotes was "I don't care half so much about making money as i do about making my point, and coming out ahead."
The Picture Below is Cornelius Vanderbilt

Knights of Labor

The Knights of Labor was a secret society of tailors in Philadelphia in 1869. The Knights rose with the railroad strike of 1877. In 1886 the group had over 700,000 members. The Knights excepted any person into the work business. They supported the Chinese Exclusion act of 1882. The Knights main idea was to protest on any work business that should be set right. They believed in the abolition of child labor and every person gets paid equally. By 1890 the group was beat down to 100,000 people.

The Picture below is the Knights of Labor logo

Pullman, Illinios

George M. Pullman was the president of Pullman, Illinois. He wanted to build a model community. He also wanted available working class everywhere. When the town was made they hope to avoid strikes. He knew with the building of the town he had to have access to the big city markets. There soon was a train placed through the town to ship goods to Chicago. The town had over 1000 homes and public Buildings and was completed by 1884. After that Pullman was voted for "The worlds most perfect town."

Homestead steel works strike of 1892

The strike a Carnegie Steel's plant at Homestead, Pennsylvania tuned in to the most violent act in the American Labor struggles of the late 1800's. It started when one hundred men from Pinkerton Detective agency took fire at worker and townspeople. The battle started July 9, 1892. A week later the state militia showed up. In the end the Carnegie Steel won.

State of Labor Unions

The percent of workers belonging to the union is 11.3 percent. That has been the lowest in 76 years. The union member have fell over 400,000. There has been growing number of anti-labor policies."It reflects a number of things beyond labor's control, such as the state of economy," said Harley Shaiken, labor relations professor at the University of California at Berkeley. The slow recovery is cutting jobs and cover the swelling costs.


  • "Cornelius Vanderbilt Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 15 Nov.2013.
  • "Knights of Labor." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
  • "Historic Pullman Foundation." Historic Pullman Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

  • "Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 Shocked America." About.com 19th Century History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

  • "State of the Labor Unions: Worst in 76 Years." CNBC.com. N.p., 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.