Work and Protest: Teaching

  • Divide students into several groups and invite each group to explore a different labor conflict in American history, using web resources. Compare the chosen conflict to the General Textile Strike described by this website. Some good places to start looking for web-based resources on strikes are Ohio State University's page on Coal Mining in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the 1912 Lawrence Strike information on the Women and Social Movements website by Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar, and the Maryland State Archives' site on the Baltimore Railroad Strike and Riot of 1877. After they have read through the documentation on their chosen strike, ask students to discuss these questions: What were workers' chief complaints in each case? What was the position taken by management? How did workers decide to strike, and how did companies respond to the strikes once they started? How long did each strike last? Were there violent incidents associated with them? What were the lasting outcomes of the strikes? How did the specific time and place in which each strike took place influence the outcome?

Do you have other ideas for teaching using the Work and Protest resources on this website? If so, please e-mail your ideas to James Leloudis. We will add selected ideas to the website in future revisions.