Farmers vs. Wage Earners: Organized Labor in Kansas, by R. Alton Lee

By R. Alton Lee

Whereas predominantly agrarian, Kansas has an incredibly wealthy history of work historical past and performed an energetic position within the significant exertions strife of the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. Farmers vs. salary Earners is a survey of the geared up exertions flow within the Sunflower country, which mirrored in a microcosm the evolution of attitudes towards hard work within the United States. R. Alton Lee emphasizes the social and political advancements of work in Kansas and what it was once wish to paintings within the mines, the oil fields, and the factories that created the trendy commercial international. He vividly describes the tales of operating humans: how they and their households lived and labored, their desires and aspirations, their purposes for becoming a member of a union and the way it served their pursuits, how they fought to accomplish their pursuits throughout the political approach, and the way employment replaced over the a long time by way of race, gender, and dealing conditions. The common public supported exertions after the Civil conflict, yet expanding urbanization and the farmer-dominated legislatures helped quell this sympathy, and new ire used to be finally directed on the workingman. via interpreting the development of business exertions in an agrarian country, Lee indicates how Kansans, like many americans, may eagerly settle for the federal largesse of the hot Deal yet whilst bitterly denounce its philosophy and ambitions within the wake of the nice melancholy. (20061027)

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Section one forbade any engineer to abandon his locomotive “willfully and maliciously” at any point other than the scheduled destination. Section two prohibited any person or persons from “willfully and maliciously” impeding or obstructing the business of a railroad or other firm or corporation. Section three outlawed two or more people from conspiring to obstruct or impede the operation of a railroad, firm, or corporation. Without specifically forbidding strikes, the state provided for punishment for “willfully and maliciously” interfering with its commercial traffic such as occurred the year previously.

Thus there were many reasons for urban people, strikers and nonstrikers, to hate railroads and “to participate in crowd behavior” that injured the railroad lines. In addition to the noise and pollution that trains generated in cities, nearly six hundred people were killed annually at grade crossings in Chicago in the 1890s. 47 News of the spreading strife dominated Kansas papers for two weeks, and the fever of violence proved contagious on the Great Plains. For example, on July 20 the Atchison Daily Champion carried a story that the B & O strike had spread to the Pennsylvania line.

The Kansas City Smelting and Refining Company established its headquarters on the south bank of the Kansas River, three miles from the point where it empties into the Missouri, with refineries also in Leadville and El Paso. It employed four hundred men in Argentine and was the world’s largest refining concern, producing approximately one-fifth of the American production of silver and lead. It built a number of cottages in its company town to house workers who worked long hours in noxious fumes while refining Kansas lead and Colorado gold.

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