Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/17

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58. Was there ever joint action by these unions?
In particular trades there may have been. In 1809 the shoemakers struck against one firm. This firm farmed out its work to other manufacturers. To meet this situation, the shoemakers called out every man in the trade. It was a general strike against the master shoemakers.
59. What became of these early unions?
Following the Napoleonic wars an industrial depression swept through the United States. Goods manufactured in Europe were dumped into this country. Unemployment made ravages among the working class, and in the resulting competition the unions were destroyed. It is stated that in Philadelphia alone out of 9,762 workmen employed in 1816, about 7,500 were discharged in 1819. It is authentically reported that in 1819 approximately 20,000 workers were seeking work in Philadelphia, a like number in New York, and 10,000 in Baltimore.
60. How long did the panic last?
It reached its height about 1820. Thereafter there was gradual improvement.
61. What important event took place about this time?
Steam power had been successfully applied to water transportation. This made the navigation of western waters commercially more advantageous. There is said to have been 108 steam-propelled vessels on western waters in 1822. The new power made possible readier and more rapid use of the Mississippi, and other navigable waters. This development of production machinery made possible the addition of vast territories, and rendered the rest of the world more accessible to our production, and our markets to their manufactures. Steam as a motive power in industry and transportation was the means upon which capitalist domination depended.
62. What effect did the revival of trade have upon the workers?
We find many unions springing up in trades where previously there had been no organization. In New York (1825) "The Nailers Union (and) the Weavers Union joined with a number of journeymen societies in