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Module 5: The Lawrence Textile Mill Strike of 1912
-ONLY USE “PRIMARY SOURCES that I HAVE PROVIDED for you attached in File!!!
– Answer two discussion questions.
– Please FOLLOW “Discussion Post Directions” very carefully! (Attached in FIle)!
– Be sure to refer to the discussion instructions in the course information folder for full directions and rubric.
1. In Bread & Roses, author Bruce Watson details the origins of the textile industry in Lawrence, Massachusetts, during the 19th century. What specific factors contributed to the development of the textile industry in Lawrence? In previous modules this semester, we’ve focused on the growth of industry during the second half of the 19th century. In what ways did the development of industry in Lawrence reflect the broader growth of industry in the United States during this period in the past?
2. Bruce Watson titled chapter 2 of Bread & Roses, “Immigrant City,” a reference to the significance of immigration in the history of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Who immigrated to Lawrence during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and why? What was life like for immigrants in Lawrence during this era? In previous modules this semester, we’ve focused on the influx of immigrants during the second half of the 19th century. In what ways did the immigrant experience in Lawrence reflect the broader immigrant experience in the United States during this period in the past?
3. In Bread & Roses, author Bruce Watson describes the living and working conditions ordinary laborers experienced in turn of the 20th century Lawrence, Massachusetts. What examples from the book typify the living and working conditions in Lawrence? What examples from the assigned primary source evidence illustrate the working conditions in the Lawrence textile mills? In previous modules this semester, we’ve focused on the living and working conditions prevalent in the nation’s cities during the Gilded Age. In what ways did the living and working conditions in Lawrence reflect the broader living and working conditions in the United States during this period in the past?
4. The Lawrence textile mill strike of 1912 lasted sixty-three days, from January 12 to March 14. What specific factors caused textile mill workers to strike? What were the strikers’ demands/goals? What examples from Bread & Roses and the assigned primary source evidence demonstrate such motivations and goals? How do the Lawrence strikers’ motivations and goals compare with those of strikers you’ve learned about previously this semester?
5. In Bread & Roses, author Bruce Watson details a number of challenges that the Lawrence textile mill strikers experience during their sixty-three day strike. What examples from Bread & Roses and the assigned primary sources indicate the challenges the strikers endured? How do these challenges compare with the challenges strikers experienced in previous strikes you’ve learned about this semester?
6. In Bread & Roses, author Bruce Watson focuses on a range of strategies adopted by the Lawrence mill strikers. What examples from Bread & Roses and the assigned primary source evidence demonstrate the strikers’ strategies? How do the strategies compare with those employed in other strikes you’ve learned about this semester?
7. Very few strikes were successful at the turn of the 20th century. Even so, the Lawrence mill strike of 1912 did enjoy a measure of success. Referring to Bread & Roses, what specific successes did the Lawrence mill strike achieve? Why was this strike relatively successful, unlike many strikes of this era? In what ways did public reaction to the strike contribute to the strike’s success?
8. Bruce Watson writes on pg. 3 of Bread & Roses, “What happened in Lawrence has been too often relegated to history’s ghettos.” In other words, this is the sort of event (a strike) in a field of United States history (the history of the labor movement) that is mainly overlooked, if not forgotten entirely. Consider how Watson’s claim relates to a controversy in Maine from 2011 over a mural depicting the history of the labor movement in the state. Here are two links to stories related to this controversy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/maine-paul-lepage-unions-labor-mural_n_839520.html and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/maine-labor-mural-removes_n_841369.html. Based on these two accounts and your own experience, do you agree that labor history is generally overlooked? If you agree, why do you think that the history of the labor movement is overlooked? If you disagree, why? In that same paragraph, Watson asserts that the broader history of Lawrence textile mill strike of 1912 is “a quintessentially American event, one of which the entire nation can be proud.” Do you agree or disagree that this is an event in United States history that the nation can be proud of? Why?