successful. In 1799 the shoemakers of Philadelphia struck against a reduction of wages, the strike lasting about ten weeks, and being only partially successful. These four are the only strikes to which any reference can be found that occurred in the United States prior to the 19th century. The conditions of industry generally during the colonial days was not conducive to strikes. The factory system had not taken deep root, masters and men worked together, and so there was no opportunity for concerted action.
The first notable American strike occurred in November 1803, in the city of New York, and is commonly known as the Notable Early Strikes. “sailors' strike.” The sailors in New York had been receiving $10 per month. They demanded an increase to $14. In carrying out their purpose they formed in a body, marched through the city, and compelled other seamen who were employed at the old rates to leave their ships and join the strike. The strikers were pursued and dispersed by the constables, who arrested their leader and lodged him in gaol, the strike thus terminating unsuccessfully. In 1805 the Journeymen Shoemakers' Association of Philadelphia again turned out for an increase of wages. The demands ranged from 25 to 75 cents per pair increase. This strike lasted six or seven weeks and was unsuccessful. The strikers were tried for conspiracy, the result of the trial being published in a pamphlet which appeared in 1806. An account of this trial may be found in the United States Supreme Court library. In November 1809 a strike among the cordwainers occurred in the city of New York. The proprietors quietly took their work to other shops, and by this stratagem defeated the strikers; but the action being discovered, a general turn-out was ordered by the Journeymen Cordwainers' Association against all the master workmen of the city, nearly 200 men being engaged in the strike. At that time a stoppage of work in one shop by the journeymen was called a “strike”; a general stoppage in all shops in a trade was known as a “general turn-out.” A member of a journeymen's association who did not keep his obligations to the organization was denominated a “scab.”
In 1815 some of the journeymen cordwainers of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, were tried for conspiracy on account of their connexion with a strike, and were convicted. In 1817 a peculiar labour difficulty occurred at Medford, Massachusetts. Thacher Magoun, a ship-builder of that town, determined to abolish the grog privilege customary at that time. Mr Magoun gave notice to his people that no liquor should be used in his ship-yard, and the words “No rum!” “No rum!” were written on the clapboards of the workshop and on the timbers in the yard. Some of Mr Magoun's men refused to work; but they finally surrendered, and a ship was built without the use of liquor in any form.
The period from 1821 to 1834 witnessed several strikes, but rarely more than one or two in each year. These strikes occurred among the compositors, hatters, ship carpenters and caulkers, journeymen tailors, labourers on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, the building trades, factory workers, shoemakers and others. One of the most notable of these, for its influence upon succeeding labour movements, occurred in 1834, in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts. During the latter part of the preceding year the female shoebinders of that town began to agitate the question of an increase of wages. The women engaged in this work usually took the materials to their homes. The manufacturers were unwilling to increase the prices paid, so a meeting for consultation was held by more than one thousand binders. This was on the 1st of January 1834. The binders resolved to take out no more work unless the increase was granted. The employers, however, steadily refused to accede to the demands, as they found no difficulty in having their work done in neighbouring towns at their own prices. The strike, after three or four weeks, came to an unsuccessful termination. In February of the same year a disturbance of short duration occurred at Lowell, Mass., among the female factory operatives. Their strike was to prevent a reduction of wages. During the year 1835 there was a large number of strikes throughout the country, instigated by both men and women. The number of strikes by dissatisfied employees had at this time become so numerous as to call forth protests from the public press, the New York Daily Advertiser of the 6th of June 1835 declaring that “strikes are all the fashion,” and suggesting that it was “an excellent time for the journeymen to come from the country to the city.”
The United States government, through the census office and the department (now bureau) of labour, has investigated Investigation. the question of strikes, the result being a fairly continuous record from 1880 to the 31st of December 1905 inclusive. In 1880, according to the tenth census, there were 610 strikes, but the number of establishments involved in them was not reported; the record must therefore commence with 1881, and since then the facts have been continuously and uniformly reported by the department (now bureau) of labour. This record, so far as numbers are concerned, is shown in the following table:—
| Number of
Statistics of Strikes.—Out of the total of 181,407 establishments at which strikes took place during the period named, 69,899 were in building trades, 17,025 in coal and coke, 7381 in tobacco, 20,914 in clothing, 4450 in stone-quarrying and cutting, 1555 in boots and shoes, 1551 in furniture, 1476 in brick-making, 2999 in printing and publishing, and 1086 in cooperage. These ten industries supplied 128,336, or 70.74% of the whole number of establishments in which strikes occurred during the twenty-five years. In the lock-outs occurring during the same time five industries bore a very large proportion of the burden, involving 13,716, or 73.95% of the whole number of establishments, which was 18,547. The industries affected were: building trades, 10,142; clothing, 1943; stone-quarrying and cutting, 901; boots and shoes, 337; tobacco 393. The whole number of persons thrown out of employment by strikes was 8,703,824, of whom 90.57% were males and 9.43% were females; and the total number thrown out of employment by lock-outs during the same period was 825,610, of whom 84.18% were males and 15.82% were females. About 70% of the whole number of strikes were ordered by labour organizations; and of the number so ordered (25,353) 49.48% succeeded, 15.87% succeeded partly, and 34.65% failed. Of the whole number of strikes, 47.94% succeeded, 15.28% succeeded partly and 36.78% failed. Of the lock-outs, 50.79% succeeded, 10.71% succeeded partly and 32.09% failed. The average duration