The Homestead Act of 1892

Topics: Pinkerton National Detective Agency, Strike action, Andrew Carnegie Pages: 2 (476 words) Published: September 24, 2005
The Homestead Strike of 1892

1.The factions on either side of the strike – a simple disagreement over wages between the nations largest steelmaker and its largest craft union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers.

2.Developments leading up the actual strike – the union fought not just for better wages, but a say in america's new industrial order. Carnegie refused to share control of his company. He and his partner Henry Clay Frick, had brought unions to heel at their other mills, but Homestead remained untamed. Meeting continued through late June but the two sides could not reach an agreement.

3.Events in details – on June 29, despite the union's willingness to negotiate, Frick closed the mill and locked out 3,800 men. Two days later, workers seized the mill and sealed off the town from strike-breakers. Frick summoned a private police force, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, to protect the non-union workers he planned to hire. The entire town flooded to the mill to meet the Pinkerton's, weapons in hand. For twelve hours, a fierce battle raged. Outgunned by the Pinkerton's Winchester rifles, Homestead's citizens scoured the town for weapons, pressing into service everything from ancient muzzle loaders to 20-pound cannon. As workers built barricades on shore, the Pinkertons cut rifle ports in the sides of their barges. In the face of withering gunfire, the Pinkertons again tried to land. Workers blasted the cannon at the Pinkertons barges, but scored few hits. Workers sent a burning raft and even a burning railroad car to destroy the barges, but both fell short of their targets. Dynamite and flaming oil slicks failed to scuttle the Pinkertons' craft. The terrified Pinkertons cowered below deck. Four times the Pinkertons rasied a white flag. Four times it was shot down by one of the three hundred sharpshooters positioned near Open Hearth Furnace. At 5 pm, the workers finally accepted the Pinkertons' surrender. Three...
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