By: United States Steel Corporation
Source: United States Steel Corporation. First Annual Report of the United States Steel Corporation for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 1902. Pittsburgh: United States Steel Corporation, 1902, 13–20.
About the Organization: When it was founded in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation, better known as U.S. Steel, was the largest business enterprise ever launched, with more than $1 billion in capital. Formed through the dealings of legendary businessmen including J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Charles Schwab, and Elbert H. Gary (the company's first chairman), U.S. Steel quickly became the country's largest producer of steel, a title it still holds today.
The late–nineteenth century was a period of unparalleled industrial growth in America. It was marked by the emergence of new industries, the expansion of established industries, consolidation of capital, and the rise of powerful, wealthy business leaders. It was also a time of cutthroat competition, which many business leaders found harmful to business and to the country as a whole. No one better represented the drive for order, discipline, and economic stability than the powerful banker and financier, J.P....
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Report to the President on the Anthracite Coal Strike of May–October, 1902
By: Anthracite Coal Strike Commission
Source: Anthracite Coal Strike Commission. Report to the President on the Anthracite Coal Strike of May–October, 1902 Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903, 80–87.
About the Author: The Anthracite Coal Strike Commission was created in October 1902 to arbitrate the dispute between miners and mine owners in the ongoing strike in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. An outgrowth of a preliminary investigation performed by Commissioner of Labor Carroll D. Wright, the seven-person commission included a mine engineer, a U.S. Army engineer, a Catholic bishop, "a businessman familiar with the coal industry," the president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Conductors, a federal judge, and Commissioner Wright.
In May 1902, the coal miners of the anthracite region in eastern Pennsylvania went on strike. Led by the young John L. Mitchell, president of the United Mine Workers (UMW) union, the miners sought a twenty percent wage increase, an eight-hour workday, revised practices for weighing their daily output, and recognition of the union. A strike in 1900 had achieved a ten percent wage increase, but, beginning in 1901, Lewis made numerous efforts...
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The History of the Standard Oil Company
By: Ida M. Tarbell
Source: Tarbell, Ida M. The History of the Standard Oil Company, vol. 2. New York: McClure, Phillips, 1904, 267–269, 274–277, 287–288, 292. Available online at ; website home page http://www.history.rochester.edu (accessed January 6, 2003).
About the Author: Ida M. Tarbell (1857–1944) was a prominent investigative journalist who achieved her greatest fame as the author of The History of the Standard Oil Company. Originally published as a series of articles in McClure's Magazine beginning in November 1902, the book exposed Standard Oil's sometimes ruthless business practices. In 1906, Tarbell became co-owner of American Magazine. She wrote several biographies, including an eight-volume study of Abraham Lincoln, and was a popular lecturer.
Standard Oil Company was the quintessential business trust, and its founder, John D. Rockefeller, the quintessential "robber baron" of the Gilded Age. Through sound management, operating efficiencies, shrewdness, and sometimes highly unethical business practices, Standard Oil ruthlessly eliminated competition. By 1880, it
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Manifesto of the Industrial Workers of the World
By: Industrial Workers of the World
Date: January 1905
Source: Manifesto of the International Workers of the World. Adopted January 1905. Reprinted in Haywood, William D. Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood. New York: International Publishers, 1929, 175–179.
About the Organization: The Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labor organization, was organized in Chicago in January 1905. Prominent among the organizing members were William D. Haywood of the Western Federation of Miners, Daniel De Leon of the Socialist Labor Party, Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party, and fiery labor agitator, Mother Jones.
The economic order that emerged in the post–Civil War era was dominated by ever larger business concerns. The industrial laborer who provided the muscle that drove these enterprises had become part of a permanent under-class. Increasingly labor saw its future not in rising up the economic and social scale through individual achievement, but rather in improving its condition through collective action.
Within the labor movement, two primary schools of thought had evolved by 1900. The first, best represented by Samuel Gompers and the craft unions that...
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Conditions in Chicago Stock Yards: Message from the President of the United States
By: James Bronson Reynolds and Charles P. Neill
Date: June 4, 1906
Source: Reynolds, James Bronson, and Charles P. Neill. Conditions in Chicago Stock Yards: Message from the President of the United States, 59th Congress, 1st sess., June 4, 1906, document no. 873, 3–8.
About the Author: Charles Patrick Neill (1865–1942) received a Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University. He taught at the Catholic University of America before being appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt (served 1901–1909) to serve as assistant recorder at federal hearings into the anthracite coal strike in 1902. He was appointed Commissioner of Labor in 1905, but he resigned in 1913 to pursue a career in business. He served as a referee in labor-management disputes in the coal and railroad industries throughout his professional career. James B. Reynolds (1861–1924) was a social worker who played an active role in a wide range of reform activities. A graduate of Yale University (1884), Reynolds became head of the Columbia University Settlement in New York's Lower East Side in 1894. In addition to serving with Charles Neill in the investigation of the meatpacking industry, he also served on commissions concerned with immigration, working conditions on the construction of the Panama Canal, and...
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Court Injunctions and Labor Unions
The Abuses of Organized Labor and
By: Frederick R. Boocock
Date: October 17, 1906
Source: Boocock, Frederick R. The Abuses of Organized Labor and Their Remedy: Address Delivered before the National Association of Hardware Manufacturers, October 17, 1906. Pamphlets in American History: Labor 114.
About the Author: Frederick R. Boocock was secretary of the American Anti-Boycott Association. Established in 1902, the association was a leader in the effort to destroy labor unions, particularly through court-ordered injunctions supported by restraint-of-trade provisions of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
"Free Press and Free Speech Invaded by Injunction Against the A.F. of L.: A Review and Protest"
By: Samuel Gompers
Date: February 1908
Source: Gompers, Samuel. "Free Press and Free Speech Invaded by Injunction Against the A.F. of L.: A Review and Protest." American Federationist. Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Labor, 1908, 1–5.
About the Author: Samuel Gompers (1850–1924), a leading figure in the American labor...
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The Western Federation of Miners on the Mesabi Range: An Address at a Social Entertainment of Hibbing Mine Workers
By: Teofilo Petriella
Date: November 26, 1906
Source: Petriella, Teofilo. The Western Federation of Miners on the Mesabi Range: An Address at a Social Entertainment of Hibbing Mine Workers. Pamphlets in American History. L1644, pp. 1–4, 7–9, 10, 12.
About the Author: Teofilo Petriella was an Italian-born socialist and labor organizer for the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). In addition to his activities in the iron-mining region of Minnesota, he was also active in efforts to organize copper miners on the Keweenaw Peninsula in northern Michigan.
The Western Federation of Miners, organized in 1893, represented metal miners. It was particularly successful in the Rocky Mountain states, although it also launched serious organizing efforts in the Minnesota iron mines and the Michigan copper mines, and briefly attempted to organize miners in the coal industry. The WFM was the primary organizer of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Western (later American) Labor Union. Business leaders regarded the WFM as radical, militant, and violent. Certainly it was radical and militant and made no apologies for its opposition to capitalism and support of socialism—a position that attracted the special enmity...
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Rate Wars in the Railroad Industry
From the Directors of the Standard
Oil Company to Its Employees and
By: James A. Moffett
Date: August 1907
Source: Standard Oil Company. From the Directors of the Standard Oil Company to Its Employees and Stockholders. August 1907.
About the Author: James A. Moffett (1851–1913) entered the oil-refining business as a young man in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and joined Standard Oil in 1883. In 1888, he took charge of building a major refinery at Whiting, Indiana. The next year he became president of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana. He later became a director and vice president of the Standard Oil Trust Company.
Statement in Answer to the
Allegations of the Standard Oil
Company Regarding Its Conviction
By: Herbert Knox Smith
Date: October 11, 1907
Source: United States Bureau of Corporations. Statement in Answer to the Allegations of the Standard Oil Company Regarding its Conviction at Chicago. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1907.
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Explosion at Darr Mine
"Over Four Hundred Men Entombed by Explosion at Darr Mine"; "Only Six Bodies Are Recovered at Darr"
By: United Press
Date: December 20, 1907; December 21, 1907
Source: United Press. "Over Four Hundred Men Entombed by Explosion at Darr Mine." Washington (Pa.) Reporter, December 20, 1907; "Only Six Bodies Are Recovered at Darr." Washington (Pa.) Reporter, December 21, 1907.
About the Organization: United Press was a news service created by Edward W. Scripps in 1907. Scripps had, by this time, acquired a group of newspapers that would later form the basis for the Scripps-Howard chain. The United Press merged with the Hearst-owned International News Service in 1956 to form United Press International (UPI).
Darr Mine Rescue Team at Van Meter, Pennsylvania
Date: December 19, 1907
Source: "Darr Mine Rescue Team at Van Meter, Pennsylvania." From the personal collection of Anna Toth, Bobtown, Penn. Available online at http://patheoldminer.rootsweb.com/darr2.html; website home page
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Ford Price List of Parts for Models "N," "R," "S" and "S" Roadster
By: Ford Motor Company
Source: Ford Motor Company. Ford Price List of Parts for Models "N," "R," "S" and "S" Roadster. Detroit: Ford Motor Company, 1908, 1, 54, 55, 56–57, 58, 59, 61.
About the Author: Henry Ford (1863–1947) led a social and economic revolution in the United States with the introduction of the Model T automobile in October 1908. While working as an engineer in Detroit, he built his first automobile in 1896, but it was not until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company became a going concern. Ford was one of many auto manufacturers, but the introduction of the Model T and his improvement of mass production techniques pushed the company into a class of its own.
"I will build a car for the masses," Henry Ford said on announcing the Model T. It will allow them, he said, to "enjoy the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces." Few prognostications have been more accurate. When he spoke those words, the automobile was regarded as a rich person's toy. Some automakers, Ransom E. Olds, for example, had visions similar to Ford, but most clung to the belief that the automobile would appeal only to a small elite, and they built cars for that market.
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"A Protective vs. a Competitive Tariff"
By: Home Market Club
Source: Home Market Club. "A Protective vs. a Competitive Tariff." 1909? Reproduced in Pamphlets in American History, T1315. Microform. Microfilming Corp. of America.
About the Author: The Home Market Club, organized in Boston in the 1880s, was a leading advocate for protective tariffs. It published a monthly magazine The Protectionist, from 1899 to 1942. The club frequently hosted prominent figures for major addresses, including President William McKinley (served 1897–1901) and President Warren G. Harding (served 1921–1923), who in 1920 coined his famous phrase calling for a "return to normalcy." This referred to a return to high protective tariffs and a reduction in taxes following the administration of Woodrow Wilson (served 1913–1921).
The debate over tariffs is as old as the Republic itself. They were the chief source of revenue for the new federal government in 1789, but one segment of the country, best represented by Alexander Hamilton, believed that tariffs should be used not just to raise revenue, but also to protect American industry from foreign competition. Opponents felt that protective tariffs raised prices, and, in effect, taxed of one segment of the...
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By: Frederick Winslow Taylor
Source: Taylor, Frederick Winslow. Shop Management. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1911, 49–56.
About the Author: Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915), a Philadelphia-born engineer and inventor, is best known for helping modernize industrial management techniques. Taylor was obsessively organized and constantly looked for ways to bring order and discipline to his affairs. As a young engineer, he began a series of studies designed to improve operations in his own plants. By the early 1890s, he had started working as an independent consultant showing manufacturing companies how to improve operations.
The development of technology, increased productive capacity, and sophisticated business organizations after the Civil War (1861–1865) were not accompanied by a comparable improvement in the day-to-day operations of manufacturing plants, which stumbled along in much the same way as they had in the premechanized world of preceding generations. As the nineteenth century came to a close, some industrialists, like Frederick Taylor, came to realize that the old, inefficient ways needed to change. Mechanization had replaced handicraft, and management in these new conditions...
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Thirteenth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910, Volume VIII, Manufactures: 1909
By: U.S. Bureau of the Census
Source: United States Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910. Volume VIII, Manufactures: 1909. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913, Tables 4 and 6, pp. 50, 63–65.
About the Census Bureau: The Constitution mandates the taking of a census every ten years as a means of determining representation in the House of Representatives and taxation. The first census in 1790 simply counted the population. The census of 1850 marked a dramatic expansion in the breadth of the data collected to include economic and other relevant social topics. Thereafter, the census steadily expanded its scope, becoming an increasingly valuable tool for contemporaries and historians in understanding American life.
The first decade of the twentieth century was a period of tremendous economic growth. By 1890, the United States had surpassed Great Britain and...
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Bill Haywood's Book
By: William D. Haywood
Source: Haywood, William D. Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood. New York: International Publishers, 1929, 207–216.
About the Author: Big Bill Haywood (1869–1928) led two of America's most successful radical labor unions, the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Haywood—big, burly, and gruff—detested capitalism and represented the revolutionary socialist worker feared by big business and political conservatives and moderates. An outspoken opponent of World War I (1914–1918), Haywood was arrested in 1917 on charges of treason. Released on bail, he fled to Russia, where he died.
On the evening of December 20, 1905, Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg was killed in a bomb explosion. A former miner, Steunenberg had broken with the Western Federation of Miners during strikes in Coeur d'Alenes, Idaho, several years earlier. Suspicion immediately fell on the WFM, who regarded Stuenenberg as a traitor. Within days, Harry Orchard, a Canadian-born drifter and apparent associate of several union leaders, was arrested. After several days of questioning by Pinkerton detective, John McParland, Orchard...
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