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Populists, Progressives, and the Eight-Hour Day

Page history last edited by Marcella Walter 3 years, 2 months ago

In the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the drive for an eight-hour day carried the labor movement into the political arena. In Montana the so-called "progressive" Republicans and Democrats sought to protect workers and court their vote by carrying the banner for the eight-hour day. Of course, this controversial reform legislation sparked considerable conflict among politicians and companies, but also in the general public arena as well.  How have workers fought to gain safety, security, and reasonable working conditions in Montana?  What forms of "fighting" did populists, workers, and progressives use? Whose aid have they enlisted?  Who have they alienated?  How useful an ally is the government in securing worker rights?  Where have compromises occurred in negotiation and legislation?


Secondary Sources:

Calvert, Jerry W. The Gibraltar: Socialism and Labor in Butte, Montana, 1895-1920 (Montana Historical Society Press: Helena, MT 1988).


Enyeart, John P.  “Revolution or Evolution: The Socialist Party, Western Workers, and Law in the Progressive Era,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Volume 2, No. 4, New Perspectives on Socialism II (October 2003).


Malone, Michael P. The Battle for Butte: Mining & Politics on the Northern Frontier 1864-1906 (Montana Historical Society Press: Helena, MT 1981)


Montana State Federation of Labor Year Book: Golden Jubilee 1894 to 1944.  Official Publication Montana State Federation of Labor.  Containing Historical Data of Montana Labor Movement and Proceedings of the Forty-Seventh Annual Convention at Butte (James D. Graham, Editor: Published annually at Helena, MT)


Roeder, Richard B.  “Montana Progressivism Sound and Fury—and One Small Tax Reform,” Montana, The Magazine of Western History, Volume 20, No. 4 (Autumn, 1970), 18-26.


Primary Sources:

Directory of the Labor Unions of the State of Montana for 1897-1898: Containing a list of all the labor organizations in the state, the names of the presidents and secretaries, time and place of meeting also a history of trades unionism, its objects and purposes, factory laws, lien laws, laws of preferred claims, statistical information, extracts from the labor bureaus of different states, articles of an educational character by able and brilliant writers, and miscellaneous information (Published by Silver Bow Trades and Labor Assembly Publishing Committee)


Eight Hour Republican Party, Silver Bow County, Montana, Court Papers, 1900 (Small Collection 1810) Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives.


Laws, Resolutions and Memorial of the State of Montana Passed at the Seventh Regular Session of the Legislative Assembly (Held at Helena, The Seat of Government of Said State, 1901) Helena, Montana: State Publishing Company.


Laws, Resolutions and Memorials of the State of Montana Passed at the Seventh Regular Session of the Legislative Assembly (Held at Helena, The Seat of Government of Said State…1901, 1903, 1911)  Helena, Montana: State Publishing Company.


Internet Sources:

Progressive Men of Montana p. 810


Vertical Files at the Montana Historical Society:

Labor Legislation


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