Pullman Palace Car Company was famous for its sleeper and luxury railcars that it produced; the commuters who were willing to pay a premium could enjoy a more comfortable transportation service there. …
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Pullman Palace Car Company was famous for its sleeper and luxury railcars that it produced; the commuters who were willing to pay a premium could enjoy a more comfortable transportation service there. One of the manufacturing plants was located in Pullman, Illinois. Ladd and Rickman narrated that George M. Pullman had established the town of Pullman as a place where his workers could work and live. This town was conceived and designed on the premise of being a model town for his workers. Graybill describes Pullman as “an amateur moral philosopher”, whose predominant value was “order.” Pullman wanted to attract a large number of skilled, dependable workers with good moral character, who can work in his factory and live in his community (Graybill). The socio-economic and political conditions of the Pullman workers, however, resulted in drastic wage cuts, while rents remained unchanged. On May 10, 1894, the first strike in American history, called the Pullman Strike of 1894, began. This paper depicts and analyzes the major causes, events, and effects of this strike. The Pullman Strike of 1894 is a product of poor economic conditions, unfair labor practices, and conflicts between capitalist and socialist ideology, as well as between the ruling capitalist society and the working class; the strike resulted in a number of deaths, economic losses, decline of the concept of industrialization, and consideration of the legitimacy of workers’ rights and interests....
ions, unfair labor practices, and conflicts between capitalist and socialist ideology, as well as between the ruling capitalist society and the working class; the strike resulted in a number of deaths, economic losses, decline of the concept of industrialization, and consideration of the legitimacy of workers’ rights and interests. The economic conditions of the country affected businesses across the United States, which, in turn, affected profits and production. In the “Introduction” of the book Pullman Strike and the Crisis of the 1890s: Essays on Labor and Politics, Schneirov, Stromquist, and Salvatore illustrate the financial crisis of 1893. They stress that the financial panic in 1893 resulted in a full-scale depression that lasted for five years (3). Unregulated market forces led to overproduction and surplus capacity for factories (Schneirov, Stromquist, and Salvatore 3). The economy reacted with falling demand, prices, wages, “a wave of bankruptcies,” and profits that were below previous-year levels (Schneirov, Stromquist, and Salvatore 3). Graybill describes that this economic crisis soon had a catastrophic impact in the Chicago area. He stresses that this was the time when social welfare such as “Social Security, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, food stamps, welfare, and a host of other government programs did not yet exist.” Extended unemployment could easily threaten life, and during the nineteenth century, people could starve to death if they were too poor to buy food (Graybill). In response to the depression, Pullman applied unfair labor practices that his contemporaries also practiced during this time. George Pullman responded to the depression much like many of his contemporaries. Schneirov states that Pullman terminated 75%
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