Great Railroad Strike of 1877: APUSH DBQ Research Paper

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As darkness fell over the city of Pittsburgh on July 21, 1877, an enormous failing. The Pennsylvania Railroad's PRR massive railroad yards were engulfed by a sea of fire. "Strong men halted with fear," one witness later recalled, "while others ran to and fro trampling upon the killed and wounded." The conflagration that raged that hot summer night was the result of a long-simmering crisis in the lives of American working men and women.The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was the angry response of railroad workers to wage reductions, job cuts, and the profiteering by the huge railroad corporations that had risen to dominance after the Civil War. Millions of Americans had become wage workers when businesses boomed, but a bank panic partly sparked by the instability caused by railroads' rate wars in 1873 sent the nation into an…show more content…
By the summer of 1877, at least three million Americans - an estimated 25 percent of the nation's workforce -were searching for employment. That May, the Pennsylvania Railroad had imposed its second 10 percent wage cut in two years.A few weeks later, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad b and o announced ten percent pay cuts for workers making more than a dollar a day-including comparable cuts for officials-and at about the same time announced payment of a 10 percent dividend. For b and o workers, this was too much-it was the second 10 percent wage cut in a year.On July 16, frustrated workers and sympathizers blocked the movement of b and o trains in Baltimore, Maryland, and one hundred miles west, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Word of the strike action spread quickly. Workers in Philadelphia, Reading, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Columbia, Harrisburg, Altoona, Johnstown, Derry, Washington, Erie, and Pittsburgh halted all commercial train traffic. Strike organizers in Pittsburgh struggled to maintain
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