A spectacular example of collective violence, the Great Strikes of 1877 was the first national strike and the first major strikes against the railroad industry. In some places, notably St. Louis, non-railroad workers also abandoned city businesses, creating one of the nation’s first general strikes. Mobilizing hundreds of thousands of workers, the Great Strikes of 1877 transformed the nation’s political landscape, shifting the primary political focus from Reconstruction to labor, capital, and the changing role of the state. Including essays by distinguished historians exploring the social, political, regional, and ethnic landscape of the Great Strikes of 1877, this collection investigates long-term effects on state militias and national guard units; ethnic and class characterization of strikers; pictorial depictions of poor laborers in the press; organizational strategies employed by railroad workers; participation by blacks; violence against Chinese immigrants; and the developing tension between capitalism and racial equality in the United States.
Contributors include Joshua Brown, Steven J. Hoffman, Michael Kazin, David Miller, Richard Schneirov, David O. Stowell, and Shelton Stromquist.