The fight for equal working rights can be tracked back to the time of reconstruction with the institution of sharecropping. Sharecropping is a type of farm tenancy that developed after the Civil War in which landless workers farmed land in exchange for farm supplies and a share of the crop (Foner A-63). This system seemed like a decent thing to many blacks because now they could own their own land and work without supervision. Not all aspects of sharecropping were good though, blacks had to provide clothing, medicine and pay for medical bills all on their own. Also the working conditions were not the greatest. Blacks were expected to labor ten hours a day on average in the winter and summer and any time that was lost would be at the cost of one dollar per day (“A Sharecropping” 12). This was just the beginning of harsh working conditions and low wages which would continue to be a concern for workers throughout the years.
In a time where jobs were scarce and the economy was suffering, the second industrial revolution brought about new changes to the work force and the economy. Du...
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... they were able to receive shorter work hours, the right to free speech and overall better working conditions. These changes were just the beginning of what would be a whole new sense of freedom for the working American people.
“A Sharecropping Contract,” in Voices of Freedom. Ed by Eric Foner
Definitions. Web. 08 Mar. 2011.
Elizabeth Flynn, “The Industrial Workers of the World and the Free Speech Fights,” in Voices of Freedom. Ed. By Eric Foner
"Freedom | Define Freedom at Dictionary.com." Dictionary.com | Free Online Dictionary for English
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty. 3rd ed. Vol. Two. New York: Norton &, 2011. Print.
John Ryan, “A Living Wage,” in Voices of Freedom. Ed. By Eric Foner
William Sumner, “William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism,” in Voices of Freedom. Ed. By Eric Foner
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