Bread and Roses

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Bread and Roses Essay

The book Bread and Roses gives us a vivid look into the world of the labor union in the early 1900's. It takes us through the times of the strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts portraying the struggles and hardships of those involved. This strike of the mill workers shows a dramatic and changing time in America's history and it is something that we should take a closer look at.

In the novel, Bruce Watson delves into the many factors that fuel the strike situation in Lawrence. One issue that contributes to the strike is immigration. At this point in time, America's makeup was fast changing as immigrants came from Italy, Ireland, Germany, and a wide variety of other lands. One part they play in the strike is coming in and taking away jobs and at lower pay. These newcomers to the country came in with nothing and had to start somewhere and this was the right opportunity for them. I will not call it a perfect opportunity, as it was far from that. Nonetheless they had to take what they could get and that was quite displeasing to those whose jobs were being taken. The immigrants would prove to be an important part to the outcome of the strike in Lawrence.

The workers' rights seemed to be more than an important issue to the strike situation. Among many things at hand here, a factor that comes into play is the working conditions. The machines being used in the mills were far from safe as one could easily become injured by the fast moving cranks and pullys. The amount of work they had to do and the time in which they did it is more than impressive to me. It is easy to see how the workers were pushed to the limits of strike. On top of all of that they were getting paid minimum wage for this invigorating work. It was clear that a change had to be made and it took these workers to unite to get it done. The workers rights maintained the strike as it was these rights that were in question in settling the strike. After all, this...
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