Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the category “1830-1839”

July 3, 1835

ImageMore than 2,000 workers—many of whom were children—from 20 textile mills in Paterson, New Jersey, go on strike demanding shorter working hours (from the 13 1/2-hour days they were working to 11 hours). Employers refused to negotiate and broke the strike by unilaterally declaring a reduction in work hours to twelve hours daily during the week and nine hours on Saturdays.

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June 26, 1839

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Emma Miller – seamstress, trade union organizer, suffragist, and founder of the Australian Labor Party – is born.  She was an advocate for equal pay and equal rights for women and a committed activist and organizer until her death in 1917.  The epitaph on her gravestone reads: “The world is my country; to do good is my religion.”

March 18, 1834

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Six farm laborers in Tolpuddle, Dorset, England, are found guilty of taking an illegal oath and forming a union. The men were sentenced to seven years of prison labor in Australia. Support for the Tolpuddle Martyrs was enormous: a massive demonstration marched through London and 800,000 people signed a petition protesting their sentence.

December 18, 1830

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The trial of nearly 350 agricultural laborers gets underway in England.  Facing land enclosures and mechanization, farm workers riot in the autumn of 1830, demanding higher wages, destroying machinery, and threatening landowners.  Of the nearly 2,000 people tried and convicted, 19 were executed and over 500 deported to New South Wales and Tasmania.

November 4, 1839

ImageThousands march on Newport, Wales, to demand the release of imprisoned Chartist leader Henry Vincent and others.  More than 20 people died and 50 were injured in the ensuing battle with the military.   Hundreds of Chartists were arrested; leaders of the Newport Rising were found guilty of treason.  Chartism was the first modern mass labor movement in England; its central issue was universal suffrage for men.

November 1, 1835

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Workers in Philadelphia organize a successful general strike for a 10-hour workday.  Three hundred armed Irish longshoremen marched through the streets calling workers to join them on strike. 20,000 leather workers, printers, carpenters, bricklayers, masons, city employees, bakers, clerks, and painters joined in.  Within a week, the city government announced a 10-hour workday for its employees; three weeks later, private employers followed suit.

August 21, 1831

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Nat Turner begins a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia.  The two-day insurrection left at least 55 white people dead.  Turner hid for several months, but was eventually captured and executed, along with over 50 of his followers; another 200 black people were subsequently murdered by white mobs in the state.

July 3, 1835

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More than 2,000 workers—many of whom were children—from 20 textile mills in Paterson, NJ, go on strike demanding shorter working hours (from the 13 1/2-hour days they were working to 11 hours).  Employers refused to negotiate and broke the strike by unilaterally declaring a reduction in work hours to twelve hours daily during the week and nine hours on Saturdays.

May 8, 1838

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The People’s Charter — submitted by the London Working Men’s Association with six million signatures — is published in England as a parliamentary bill.  Although the charter was not enacted, most of its demands were passed into law during the century after the end of the Chartist movement.

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