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NCHS-6-3

The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes


A.  The student understands how the "second industrial revolution" changed the nature and conditions of work

B.  The student understands the rise of national labor unions and the role of state and federal governments in labor conflicts

C.  The student understands how Americans grappled with social, economic, and political issues


Resources:

Urban Crisis: Fire and Water
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant texts:
Telegraphs and Building Codes
General Slocum

Relevant transcripts:
Volunteers Oppose Professionalization

Women and the Progressive Era
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
The discussion of women at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century is often separated into different chapters and topics. This DBQ asks students to combine what they have learned about American society and about the changing roles and perceptions of women to evaluate the women's movement during the Progressive Era.

Striking Shirtwaist-Makers Selling Socialist Newspaper
Resource Type: Primary Source
Many Jewish women were very involved in labor and socialist movements, as seen in this 1910 photograph of striking shirtwaist-makers selling copies of The Call, the New York socialist daily.

The Rebel Girl
Resource Type: Primary Source
Joe Hill, lyricist and labor activist, wrote songs for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), including this tribute to the women involved in the IWW.

Sumner on Social Darwinism
Resource Type: Primary Source
William Graham Sumner was an American social scientist influenced by Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin. Sumner applied Darwin's evolutionary theory to human society.

How the Other Half Lives
Resource Type: Primary Source
Newspaper reporters, such as Jacob Riis (1849–1914), played an instrumental role in exposing the destitution and misery of New York's immigrant and working-class neighborhoods.

Fire
Resource Type: Primary Source
Since 1873, New York has had fireboxes on its streets.

Social Darwinism: Its Influence and Legacy
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Social Darwinism is usually understood as an ideology that justified survival of the fittest, that argued against government intervention or social reform to improve society. The documents in this DBQ, however, point to the complexity of social-Darwinist thought, considering how a progressive version fueled the Progressive Era and how a conservative strand exerted tremendous influence in American political thought.

The Political Economist and the Tramp
Resource Type: Primary Source
In this poem, Phillips Thompson pokes fun at certain notions of Social Darwinism.

Evolution and Labor Movements
Resource Type: Primary Source
In this 1893 magazine, an unknown writer comments on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as it applied to the labor movement.

City Problems: Poverty and Slums
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Exploring the cholera epidemic in mid-nineteenth century New York City, this selection of primary sources provides a case-study of immigration, urbanization (e.g., slums such as the Five Points), and social and moral reform that can be applied to the study of any city in the industrialized world.

How the Other Half Lives
Resource Type: Primary Source
Newspaper reporters, such as Jacob Riis (1849–1914), played an instrumental role in exposing the destitution and misery of New York's immigrant and working-class neighborhoods.

Margaret Sanger on Working Women
Resource Type: Primary Source
Margaret Sanger became nationally famous for organizing a birth-control movement. In this 1915 issue of the International Socialist Review, Sanger discusses working women.

Growth of Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Resource Type: Primary Source
This 1959 chart shows the growth in membership of women involved in the movement to prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

Social Darwinism: Its Influence and Legacy
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Social Darwinism is usually understood as an ideology that justified survival of the fittest, that argued against government intervention or social reform to improve society. The documents in this DBQ, however, point to the complexity of social-Darwinist thought, considering how a progressive version fueled the Progressive Era and how a conservative strand exerted tremendous influence in American political thought.


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