History of Labor and Work in the United States, 1880-1945
Paper Assignment 1
TOPIC: The economy and labor market of the United States underwent massive changes in the late 1800s. In the industrial north, a growing number of men, women, and children of different racial, ethnic, and occupational backgrounds became wage laborers. In the agricultural south, many formerly enslaved workers also became wage laborers working for wealthy landowners and employers. One of the major issues in this time period was the conflict between these workers and their employers, the struggle between labor and capital. What were some of the social and economic conditions that enabled workers to, at times, unite with one another to pursue common goals? What were some of the major unions and/or political organizations formed by workers to improve their jobs in the late 1800s? How did employers resist these efforts, and in what ways did government officials sometimes intervene to assist them against workers?
NOTE: Although the above topic directs students to think about how changes in the economy and labor market impacted workers in the north and the south, please consider limiting your discussion of the south. Due to many factors, union activity was substantially limited in the south. (Note here that “Union Leagues” are better categorized as political organizations, and not as unions.) As such, it is advisable to omit, or substantially limit, discussion of the south in your paper.
INSTRUCTIONS: Write a research paper of 5-6 pages in length, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman (or Times) font, and with 1-inch margins on all sides, that addresses the questions posed above. You are not limited to 5-6 pages. Be sure to base your claims on the assigned readings, documents, and other materials covered in class during the first few weeks of the semester. Your paper should not mention every possible example from these materials, but adequately analyze and discuss the examples you choose. Moreover, it is strongly recommended that you focus your research efforts on chapters 1-3 of the textbook. Only use the other assigned readings and/or materials, if at all, as ancillary support after thoroughly investigating chapters 1-3 of the textbook. Your paper should follow standard grammar, punctuation, and citation methods. Please use Chicago Manual of Style (author-date format) for citations. The course site contains guidance on citations.
Also please note that this assignment is not a “5-paragraph essay,” but a research paper. Please use a paper structure and paragraph breaks as you might ordinarily find them in standard reading material, such as books, newspapers, or magazines.
DUE DATES: Please check the syllabus for due dates. The first draft of your paper will be used for an in-class peer review exercise. The second draft will be reviewed by the professor or a writing instructor. The third draft will be graded. You must complete all drafts to receive full credit for this assignment.


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