A Postal Card to Chicago: The Role of Law, the National Army, and the Roots of Progressive Labor Policy in the Pullman Strike

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dc.contributor.advisor Willrich, Michael
dc.contributor.author Coakley, Benjamin
dc.date.accessioned 2012-06-07T17:26:39Z
dc.date.available 2012-06-07T17:26:39Z
dc.date.issued 2012
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10192/55
dc.description.abstract The historical record generally neglects that the United States federal government had agency during the labor movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. Classifying the Pullman Strike as a Gilded Age backlash, where the government acted in lock-step with anti-labor court rulings, disregards the broader implications of the federal military intervening to ensure the flow of interstate commerce. This study not only examines the legal framework which shaped the executive and legislative branches’ actions during the Pullman Strike, but examines the strike as a bridge between Gilded Age and Progressive Era ideologies. An in-depth analysis of President Grover Cleveland’s justifications for surmounting the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, suggests that the federal government reserved the right to police strikes which caused blockages to national commerce and industry. Congressional debates regarding the executive’s decision to quell the strike with federal soldiers not only reaffirm the legality of the president’s actions, but add nuance to our understanding of the Pullman Strike; nascent voices of Progressive Era thought expressed a desire to create a bureaucratic administration for regulating the differences between labor and capital after the conclusion of the strike. This project links those who espoused arbitration during the Pullman strike with sentiments found in pro-arbitration pamphlets from the 1870’s, and the 1911 Square Deal editorial of President Theodore Roosevelt. It shows a direct connection between progressive thought during the Pullman Strike, and the development of a permanent federal arbitration apparatus. This study liberates the federal government from being simply a legal obstacle, automatically opposing labor at every turn. Instead, it shows that the Pullman Strike was the first step toward developing a national, federally-implemented labor policy. Pullman secured the government’s place not only as the guarantor of unencumbered interstate commerce, but promoted a national, modern bureaucracy to control labor-capital relations.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Benjamin M. Coakley 2012
dc.subject Legal History
dc.subject Law
dc.subject Labor Policy
dc.subject Gilded Age
dc.subject United States Federal Army
dc.subject Pullman Strike
dc.subject Progressive Era
dc.subject 1903 Anthracite Coal Strike
dc.subject Labor Strikes
dc.subject 1877 Railroad Strike
dc.title A Postal Card to Chicago: The Role of Law, the National Army, and the Roots of Progressive Labor Policy in the Pullman Strike
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Department of History
dc.degree.name MA
dc.degree.level Masters
dc.degree.discipline History
dc.degree.grantor Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


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