In 1894 a strike known as ‘the Pullman strike’ took place. It was destructive and revolutionary, involving both the employees who protested and their employer, George Pullman. The employees felt that Pullman was taking advantage of them, so they joined the American Railroad Union (ARU). This caused a lot of mixed feelings and many people had different perspectives on the event. Several different views can be observed when analyzing this case and its consequences. All of these views can be analyzed by interpreting first-hand accounts and documents from the time of the incident.
Wade Hampton was a former senator and governor of South Carolina. He wrote an article entitled, “Lessons of the Pullman Boycott from a Business Perspective.” Since he was apart of the American government, he was concernered with the labor force breaking what was stated in judicial law during the railroad boycott. His famous article opens with the statement that, “There can be no possible excuse for conduct such as that which has characterizered the acts of the lawless mobs, which, in defiance of all laws, divine and human, blindly and madly struck at the very foundation of all organized society, seemingly only intent on involving the whole country in common ruin.”(Hampton pg. 15). His statements clearly reflect a businessman’s opposition to employees joining a labor union. He believes that by them revolting against Pullman and his company they are being unfaithful as employees and are causing destruction in the country. Mr. Hampton makes a good point – there where better ways that existed for the employees to boycott against Pullman; ways in which they wouldn’t be destructive to railroads and other property than those that Pullman himself owned. Hampton’s own ties to the railroad make his reasons behind his views very obvious – monetarily and in reference to his retaining his reliable labour source. In addition, the audience for his article is the middle and upperclass American...
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