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Labor Movement

Updated on December 1, 2012

Labor Movement

Industrial Revolution is a great landmark in history. Began in English in the middle 1700s, it really changed the way people worked. In 19th century, Industrial Revolution brought a radical change in many aspects of many countries in which it happen, especially UK and USA. However, Industrial Revolution also caused warfare and revolution. One typical event is Labor Movement. It broke out in both UK and USA. Nevertheless, Labor Movement in those countries is not the same at all.

Firstly, we are going to find out the similarities between Labor Movement in UK and USA.

We can see that, although there are two different countries, Labor Movement happened because of similar reasons. The first one, working class wants to demand their rights back. In UK and USA, not only men but also women and children were used as labor resources with very low salary. They have to work hard about 14 hours per day, and 6 days per weak under bad as well as dangerous conditions. (Lan, 2010) Therefore, children could not go to school and women didn’t have time for their families. After a long time, they need warfare or revolution to take back what they must have. Besides, capitalist exploit hired labor too much. Working class can not be well – off so they have to struggle.

Second, Labor Movement in UK and USA has many methods which are the same. According to Karl Marx, workers would bring about economic equality for all people and control the government. This phase is called communism. It is a form of socialism by which people can own all of production, land, factories, railroads or business. Communism is the main idea for Labor Movement. From there, unions appeared. To press for reforms, workers joined together in voluntary labor associations called unions. If factory refuse their demand, union members could strike, or refuse to work. In Great British, ignoring the threat of jail and job loss, workers joined unions anyway. British unions had shared goals of raising wages for their members and improving working conditions. In Unites State, skilled workers had belonged to unions since the early 1800s. In 1886, several unions joined together to form organization that would become the American Federation of Labor. Unions in Great British and United State both had many successful strikes for worker’s rights.

Thirdly, Labor Movement in UK and USA lead to the same result. Although didn’t really won, it still play an important role in history. From this event, working class joined together to fight as well as develop significantly. Labor Movement in United State even becomes a landmark in history. It makes Labor movement spread out to many other countries. (Tuan, 2010)

In addition, there are several different points between Labor Movement in UK and USA.

Although workers in British and United State joined to unions to fight for their rights, the way they did is a little bit different. In British, at the early period, they destroyed machines to against the government. After this period, a Labor Movement of British worker was shown by Charter (Lan, 2010). They claim to politic right at parliament. They also demonstrated for their written proposal. In United State, the main method they used is demonstration. They didn’t have a written proposal as British workers but pressure from their movement make parliament brings forward a law about 8 hours working. However, capitalist didn’t care about this. Workers have to demonstrate more strongly. As a result, it leads to strikes, especially strike of Chicago workers. (Tuan, 2010)

Besides, the reason which makes Labor Movement can’t be successful in United State and British are also different. The reason of British is peaceful thinking of Lowett. He advocated bargaining with the middle class. He considered that they needn’t revolutionary measures (Lan, 2010). As a result, Labor Movement can’t develop really strongly as it should be. On the other hand, in United State, warfare of workers happened strongly. However, they couldn’t be successful because of cruel suppression from parliament. (Tuan, 2010)

Labor Movement is a memorable revolution of working class in history. It shows their awareness about their own rights. In addition, it is also the beginning of other big revolutions in the world which lead to the success of proletarian class. From this event, we also can realize the significant effect of industrialization with human history.


Lan (2010). European Labor Movement in early 19th century.

Tuan Pham Van (2010). American Labor Movement.


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