Archive for May, 2014

No after school tutoring today

I can’t stay today— Thursday.


Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton

I’m not sure how historically accurate the legos are.

Panics and Depressions in US history

Chapter 14 covers a huge section of American history from an economic point of view. However unwise this may be from a learning standpoint, I nonetheless need you to understand the cycles of economic development in our nation’s history. So please go to and read the article.Please take notes or make a chart to have this info in a handy spot in your notebooks, and also bookmark this site for AP review time in April and May.

The Map as History- Great review site!

Go here:

Economic history review topics

Economic History of the US

Adam Smith and Capitalism
Joint stock companies-Virginia Company
Impact of new world gold on old world economies
Hamiltonian financial plan/ Reports on Manufactures
Jeffersonian/ Hamiltonian economic development visions
History of sources of revenue: tariffs, excise taxes, property taxes, income taxes—and their specific uses
Policies of Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin (in office 1801-1814)
Controversies of the Banks of the US
———First BUS 1791-1811
———Second BUS 1817-1837
———Andrew Jackson and the Bank War
Panics: 1819, 1834, 1837, 1857, 1907
Depressions: 1873, 1893, 1929
Recessions: 1937, 1982, 1968, 1976, 2008
Currency issues: gold standard, silver standard, bimetallism, end of gold standard
Federal Reserve System
Debtors vs. creditors
Government revenue: Tariffs, excise taxes, sales taxes, income taxes
Laissez-Faire vs. Keynesian theory
Mass production and mass consumption
Deficit and surplus concepts
Balanced budget/surplus/ deficit 1992-present
Effect and regulation of interest rates
Economic reforms of New Deal
Supply-side (trickle-down) economic theory in 1920s and in Reaganomics
Policies of Secretary Andrew Mellon
Protectionism vs. Free trade
Development of the Global marketplace/ global workforce
Impending crisis of social security- impact of baby boom

Major events in US labor history

1790– The first textile mill, built in Pawtucket, RI, is staffed entirely by children under the age of 12.

Lowell Mill workers (and their chaperone)

Lowell Mill workers (and their chaperone)

1834 to 1836– Workers at the Lowell Textile Mills, mostly unmarried young girls and young women, institute “turnouts” protesting wage cuts that had been instituted due to falling prices due to overproduction. See also See picture at right.

1842– The Massachusetts State Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Hunt that labor unions were not necessarily illegal conspiracies.

1845– The Female Labor Reform Association is formed in Lowell, Massachusetts by Sarah Bagley and other women cotton mill workers to reduce the work day from 12 or 13 hours a day to 10, and to improve sanitation and safety in the mills where they worked.

1866– The National Labor Union formed, the first national association of unions to succeed for any length of time. It included both skilled and unskilled workers.

Terence Powderely and his mustache.

Terence Powderley and his mustache.

1869– The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, a secret society, is organized in Philadelphia. Led by Terence Powderley from 1879, they accepted members of all races and both sexes. They pushed for the eight-hour day, abolition of child labor, equal pay for equal work, and political reforms including the graduated income tax. They would collapse after the Haymarket Square Affair.

1876– Leaders of the “Molly Maguires”, a violent secret society of Irish coal miners in Pennsylvania that had been infiltrated by a Pinkerton detective, were placed on trial for murder. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows. On On June 21, 1877, (“Rope Day”) ten leaders of the Molly Maguires were hanged.

1877– The Great Railroad Strike of 1877, the first large railroad strike in US history, begins on July 14. A national uprising of railroad workers cripples the nation in response to the cutting of wages for the second time in a year by the Baltimore & Ohio (B & O) Railroad. It was also the first general strike, in which workers in other industries went on strike in solidarity with the striking workers. The governor of West Virginia sends in state militia, but they refused to use force against the strikers and the governor called for federal troops. President Rutherford B. Hayes sent federal troops from city to city. These troops suppressed strike after strike, until at last, approximately 45 days after it had started, the strike was over. This also spun off the Great St. Louis General Strike.

1886– In March, the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 200,000 workers breaks out against the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads owned by Jay Gould, one of the more flamboyant of the ‘robber baron’ industrialists of the day. The failure of the strike led directly to the collapse of the Knights of Labor and the formation of the American Federation of Labor.

–On May 1, in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, a bomb went off in the middle of a 1500-person protest rally against the killing of 4 strikers who had been on strike for the 8-hour day. Seven men were sentenced to death, even though it is unclear that labor activists had anything to do with the bombing. Only three were actually executed: one committed suicide before his execution and the other three were later pardoned.

— On December 28, The American Federation of Labor is formed at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, representing 140,000 workers grouped in 25 national unions. Samuel Gompers is elected President.

1892riot2The Great Homestead Strike and Lockout takes place at the Carnegie Steel Works outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania against the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel & Tin Workers. Andrew Carnegie directs his manager, Henry Frick, not to renew the union contract. Frick turns the steel mills into “Fort Frick,” hires Pinkerton detectives (known for their brutality) to protect scabs and locks out union laborers. Strikers battle arriving Pinkertons, leaving 9 strikers and 7 Pinkertons dead.

1894– Eugene V. Debs leads the newly formed American Railway Union in a national strike against the Pullman Company. The strike and the union were finally broken by a court injunction and the intervention of federal troops.

1902– A huge anthracite coal strike of 147,000 coal miners shuts down eastern coal production, endangering hospitals, schools, and other public buildings. President Teddy Roosevelt mediates between the two sides at the White House and breaks tradition by not automatically siding with the business owners. Federal mediation of labor disputes is then launched.
— The Colorado Labor Wars erupts as a series of conflicts spanning two years in what became known as the Colorado Labor Wars erupts in Colorado. Big Bill Haywood leads the Western Federation of Miners (WMF) through these troubles.

1905– In Chicago, Eugene Debs, former head of the American railway Union, and Big Bill Haywood, a head of the Western Federation of Miners, combine efforts to found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies as they were called) to bring all American workers into “One Big Union.”

Eugene Debs for President from the Socialist Party

Eugene Debs for President from the Socialist Party

Both would become known as members of the Socialist Party, with Debs running for US president as the party’s candidate five times, from 1900- 1920, including from a jail cell in 1920, as Debs had been sentenced to ten years in prison for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for giving a speech criticizing World War I (the text of that speech is elsewhere on this website).

1911– A fire breaks out at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which produces women’s dress shirts, killing 146 young men in gruesome fashion. The exit doors had been chained shut, and many young men hurl themselves from upper-story windows or die of smoke asphyxiation piled up near exit doors. This comes just 2 years after 20,000 shirtwaist workers had gone on strike.

1912– The “Bread and Roses Strike” takes place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, led by the International Workers of the World. Approximately 23,000 men, women and children organize at the Lawrence Textile Mills, in what is cited as the first successful multi-ethnic strike in US history

1913– The Labor Department is created as a separate department from the commerce department.

1914– The Clayton Anti-Trust Act takes effect. It limits the use of injunctions in labor disputes and providing that picketing and other union activities are not illegal conspiracies or trusts.It is specifically targetting an interpretation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 which allowed business leaders to use the Sherman Act against workers’ organizations. AFL head Samuel Gompers refers to the Clayton Act as “Labor’s Magna Carta”.

The Ludlow Massacre begins on April 20th. A combined force of Colorado National Guard and Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel & Iron Company guards kill 19-25 people, including several children, when they use a barrage of machine gun fire on a strikers’ tent village at Ludlow, Colorado.

1915 to 1918– The IWW undergoes a series of setbacks. In 1915, Joe Hill, IWW organizer and “labor’s troubador” was executed by firing squad in Utah on November 19, 1915 for a robbery and murder it is most unlikely he had anything to do with. In 1917, 17 IWW activists are horsewhipped while in police custody in Tulsa. In 1918, the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World sentenced to federal prison on charges of disloyalty to the United States.

1919– Many serious labor events increase fear during the Red Scare of 1919-1920, including:
–The Seattle General Strike of February 6 to February 11, 1919 by over 65,000 workers in several unions, dissatisfied after two years of World War I wage controls.

— United Mine Workers’ organizer Fannie Sellins, a widowed mother of four, is shot to death by coal company guards while leading strikers in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

— A strike by 1,100 police in Boston is the first ever by public safety workers. It was broken when Governor Calvin Coolidge summoned the entire Massachusetts Guard (launching his national political aspirations).

— The Great Steel Strike against U.S. Steel Corp. led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers begins. Starting in Chicago, it spread to 350,000 workers throughout Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and lasted from September 1919 to January 1920. It was broken by massive use of scabs.

— The Palmer Raids: on November 7 Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer ordered raids by the Federal Department of Justice in 30 cities across the United States to arrest and deport suspicious immigrants (so called “alien reds”) many of whom were involved in US labor unions. The raids were coordinated by a young J. Edgar Hoover, Palmer’s chief investigating officer. In all, he rounded up about 10,000 and deported many as foreign agitators, anarchists, communists.

1926– The Railway Labor Act, required employers to bargain collectively and not discriminate against their employees for joining a union and outlawing “yellow-dog” contracts, was passed.

1935– The National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) is passed, establishing the National Labor Relations Board, which ensures that workers have the right to unionize and not suffer under unfair business practices.

Six affiliated unions of the AFL form a Committee for Industrial Organizing to expand the scope of the AFL beyond its craft-union orientation.

Sit down strike by UAW

Sit down strike by UAW

1936– A “sitdown strike” of auto workers who are members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), supported by the Women’s Emergency Brigade, shuts down the assembly lines at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan.

1943– As a wartime measure, Congress passes the Smith-Connally Act to restrict labor bargaining and organizing. It would have required 30 day “cooling off” before strike, criminal penalties for encouraging strikes, Presidential seizure of struck plants, prohibitions against union campaign contributions. It is vetoed by President Roosevelt.

1946– A national railway strike brings almost all train traffic to a halt. President Harry S. Truman takes over railways and settles the dispute.

1947– As part of a postwar conservative political realignment, on June 23, The Taft-Hartley Act passed over President Truman’s veto, drastically amending the Wagner Act of 1935 reducing rights of workers to organize labor unions. State “right-to-work” laws appear. “Right-to-work” laws make it harder for unions to organize.

1949– An amendment to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act outlaws child labor (especially in the context of farm jobs)

1952– A 55 day steel workers’ strike is ended by Federal Government intervention authorized by President Harry Truman.

1955– The American Federation of Labor merges with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, to form the AFL-CIO, the world’s largest labor federation.

1959– The longest steel strike in U.S. history shuts down 90% of US steel production for 116 days.

1963– The Equal Pay Act is signed into law and requires that female workers be paid the same wage as male workers for the same job.

1965– The United Farmworkers is formed by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. It launches a 1970 boycott of 25 major growers of table grapes in California.

1971– The Occupational Safety and Health Act is passed on April 28.

1973 to 1974– Two female workers who attempt to improve worker rights and safety take their actions which later result in having movies made about them.

Crystal Lee Jordan is fired for trying to organize a union at the J.P. Stevens plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. The 1979 movie about her struggles, Norma Rae, later was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, winning Best Actress and Best Original Song.

Karen Silkwood, a lab technician at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication plant and an officer of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union local in Oklahoma City dies mysteriously en route to a union meeting with a newspaper reporter to detail violations at the plant. The 1983 movie about her experiences, Silkwood, was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress Cher.

1975– On July 1, Cesar Chavez and sixty supporters of the United Farm Workers embarked on a thousand-mile march across California to rally the state’s farm workers, many of whom are Hispanic and immigrant.

Also, on July 30, former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of a Detroit restaurant. Although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.

PATCO controllers on strike in 1981

PATCO controllers on strike in 1981

1981– The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) struck in defiance of the law. Newly elected President Ronald Reagan fired all the strikers and broke the union, sanctioning the practice of hiring “permanent replacements” for striking workers. Solidarity day labor rally draws 400,000 to the Mall in Washington D.C.

1989– A wildcat strike of the United Mine Workers of America against the Pittston Coal Group in Virginia spreads across coalfields in the eastern US, involving up to 50,000 miners in 11 states. Using non-violence and civil disobedience, the miners win a contract after a bitter nine-month struggle.

1993A five day strike of 21,000 American Airlines’ flight attendants, virtually shutting the airline down, is ended when President Clinton persuades the owners to arbitrate the dispute. Federal Arbitration of labor disputes first became common under President Theodore Roosevelt during the Coal Strike of 1903.

1994– The Major League Players Association goes on strike against National and American League baseball team owners. It is the longest strike of professional athletes and lasts 232 days, wiping out the 1994 World Series, and infuriating fans.

2001 to 2005– Several unions disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO, including the half-million member United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and in 2005, the 1.7 million member Service Employees International Union and the 1.3 million member International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

This timeline modified material found here:

Notable Rebellions in US history


As you review, consider what patterns emerge among these various uprisings, riots, and rebellions.

“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.”– Thomas Jefferson

Good golly, what if he had gotten his wish????

1663- Slave Uprising in Gloucester County, Virginia. in which both slaves and white indentured servants joined together to fight against their masters. Note that this occurred barely forty years after it was believed that the first Africans arrived on a Dutch ship in what would eventually be the United States.


1676- Bacon’s Rebellion breaks out when former indentured servants on the Virginia frontier. Economic pressures  had led former servants to only be able to procure land for themselves on the frontier, where they were subject to attack at any moment from Indians upon whose lands they were often squatting. When the colonial government refused to help them defend themselves, grievance spilled over. That summer and fall, a force under Nathaniel Bacon carried out indiscriminate attacks on Indians, whether friend or foe.  But the grievances of Bacon’s men included more than Indian attacks for they also bitterly resented the privileges the elite FFVs enjoyed and their access to power, and especially criticized the governor, William Berkeley. Therefore, when Bacon’s attempt to negotiate better treatment for those on the frontier failed, he and his men marched on Jamestown itself and burned it along with several plantations. Who knows what would have happened if the rebellion hadn’t disintegrated when Bacon suddenly died of dysentery? Twenty-three of the rebels were hanged by Governor William Berkeley.  See and, for a copy of Bacon’s “Declaration in the Name of the People,” see  ““.


1689- After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 led to the overthrow of King James II, an armed uprising stormed the fort of Boston seeking the overthrow of Sir Edmond Andros in the Dominion of New England.  Andros had angered colonists by attempting to limit self-government, encouraging the adoption of the Church of England in place of the Puritan faith, strict enforcement of the Navigation Acts, and by enforcing these decrees with British soldiers who were perceived as being unruly and needlessly violent and disrespectful. Andros was arrested by the mob, and the short-lived Dominion of New England collapsed after only three years. Cotton Mather and other leading citizens issued a “Declaration of Grievances”  outlining why the colonists were justified in resenting the imposition of the Dominion.


1689-91- Leisler’s Rebellion was led by militia captain Jacob Leisler in lower New York and was another outgrowth of the Glorious Revolution, much like the rebellion in Boston. New York was also made part of the Dominion of New England, and colonists there didn’t like it any better than those in Boston. Leisler overthrew the rule of the Lt. Governor, and created a new government based on direct representation. Leisler claimed to be maintaining power in the name of the new, Protestant rulers of England, William and Mary.  However, when William and Mary appointed a new overseer, Leisler refused to give up power, and British troops  captured him. He and his son-in law were convicted of treason, hanged, and then beheaded while still alive. Click HERE for a brief (1 minute!) video about Leisler’s Rebellion.


1677-79- The Culpeper or Albemarle Rebellion broke out in response to stricter enforcement of the Navigation Acts after the end of salutary neglect. A group of frontiersmen led by John Culpeper and George Durant in the Albemarle region of South Carolina imprisoned the deputy governor and other royal officials, including customs inspector (collector of taxes, never a popular person) Thomas Miller.  They then elected their own legislature, elected Culpeper governor, and ran things for two years. Miller eventually escaped from jail, made it back to England, where he informed the Lords Proprietors of the events. Culpeper was arrested and tried for rebellion, but was acquitted, in part because one of the Lords Proprietors defended him and justified the rebellion due to the harshness of the colonial officials. After this rebellion, one of the Lords Proprietors himself took over as governor.


1712- Slave Uprising in New York City in which about 25 armed slaves killed nine whites. Seven hundred were arrested. About twenty of the rebels were executed.


1739- The Stono Rebellion was another slave uprising led by a slave named Cato from Stono, South Carolina. On September 9, 20 slaves met and planned to escape to freedom. They broke into a store, killed the two shopkeepers, and stone guns and the ingredients for ammunition. Reportedly,  60 to 100 slaves eventually ran into a white militia called out to repel them as they marched toward Spanish Florida. At least forty blacks and twenty-one whites died during the battle. As a result, South Carolina enacted a much harsher slave code that no longer allowed slave to assemble in groups or learn to read, among other things. This was the largest uprising of slaves prior to the Revolution. See or


1741- The New York Conspiracy was another slave rebellion in New York City that was feared, although it is doubtful whether any actions took place. Thirty-one slaves and four white accomplices were executed for supposedly planning an uprising.


1763-66- Pontiac’s Rebellion broke out at the conclusion of the French and Indian War and raged throughout the Ohio Valley which had just been acquired from France for Britain. At the urging of an Indian religious leader who promised success if Indians would return to traditional ways, an Ottawa tribal chief named Pontiac soon gathered a confederation of Chippewa, Miami, Huron, Potawatomie, Delaware, and Seneca Indians to fight the establishment of British forts in the region. Ultimately, the Indians captured eight forts before the uprising lost force, and in 1766 a treaty was concluded. In response to this rebellion, however, the Proclamation of 1763 was issued by the British, enraging colonists, especially those who wished to settle in the rich Ohio River Valley. (Pontiac’s Rebellion also caused a violent uprising on the Pennsylvania frontier known as…


1763-64- The Paxton Boys Uprising was a series of attacks by frontiersmen who  were angered by Pontiac’s Rebellion. These predominantly Scots-Irish  groups attacked any Indian settlements, regardless of whether they had attacked whites or not. When the Pennsylvania governor issued arrest warrants for the Paxton boys after they attacked a peaceful settlement of Conestoga Indians, killing six outright and later taking 14 captive (who were also later killed), the Paxton Boys then attacked a village of Indians who had been converted to Christianity by Moravian missionaries. When the Indians fled to Philadelphia and were protected by the government, the Paxton Boys then marched on Philadelphia in 1764, causing a panic in the City of Brotherly Love. Only Benjamin Franklin’s negotiations with representatives from the Paxton Boys caused the march to break up. Nonetheless, tension between hardscrabble frontiersmen (westerners) and wealthier, more politically connected citizens  (easterners)was obviously not something that was solved after Bacon’s Rebellion, as this uprising demonstrated. (see p. 90 in your text)


1766-71- The Regulator Movement was an uprising in the Carolinas, once again between western frontier settlers and their wealthier, politically connected eastern counterparts, also known as the War of Regulation. It was felt that the laws and regulations that were enforced by the government were not fairly administered. This discontent was fed by the scarcity of money on the frontier. Eventually governor William Tyron called out the militia, and 2000 Regulators and 1,000 militia members fought at the Battle of Alamance on May 16, 1771. Although numerically superior, discipline and strategy was on the side of the better-trained militia, and after a two hour battle in which nine were killed on each side, the Regulators were defeated.  See or this previous post on the blog for more info. (see p. 90 in your text)


1764- Ethan Allen was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys, a military resistance unit that was formed  among settlers who did not want to see the takeover of what is now Vermont  and New Hampshire by New York. Using armed resistance, the Green Mountain Boys established a de facto government in lieu of the royally sanctioned authority of New York, which issued warrants for their arrest. When New York sent surveyors into the area they were forcibly detained and even beaten. When the Revolution broke out, however, the Green Mountain Boys and Ethan Allen  fought as a Vermont militia in the war, and when Vermont declared itself an independent nation in 1777, the Green Mountain Boys formed the basis for the Vermont Army.


1773- The Boston Tea Party. Tea Tax from Champagne Charley Townsend. Dudes in the Sons of Liberty dressed like Indians (not convincingly, but points for effort). Six thousand pounds of tea floating around in Boston Harbor in just under three hours. British East India Company enraged even without Captain Jack Sparrow involved. Port of Boston closed as part of the Intolerable Acts.


1786-87- Shays’ Rebellion broke out in western Massachusetts in the wake of a depressed national economy after the end of the Revolutionary War. Many of these farmers who had returned from the war practically penniless, and they greatly resisted the high property taxes that forced many of their number into foreclosure. Hardworking men saw their farms sold, and if that did not raise enough to pay off all their debts, they were subjected to the humiliation of court and possibly debtors’ prison. They feared that they would eventually become tenant farmers working for wealthy, well-connected landowners. Thus a strong populist flavor permeated the reasoning of the rebels.  Daniel Shays was a decorated Revolutionary War veteran who led the insurrection. He and his men marched on the debtors’ courts and forced them to close, which then alarmed creditors such as merchants and bankers, obviously. The problem was that the Confederation Congress could find no way to fund an army to restore order. The governor of Massachusetts, James Bowdoin, eventually had to use private funds to put down the insurrection. After a failed attempt to seize an arsenal, the rebellion collapsed, and many of its leaders fled to Vermont, which was not yet a state. Nonetheless, eventually 200 rebels were prosecuted for treason in 1787, and fiver were sentenced to hang. The governor lost re-election to John Hancock in the aftermath, and the five rebels sentenced to hang were paraded in front of the gallows before being given a last-minute pardon. Shays was pardoned as well, eventually, and died of old age. Shays’ Rebellion led many to conclude that the Confederation was too weak, and that radical measures would have to be taken to prevent similar uprisings in the future. The eventual consequence? The Constitutional Convention in 1787. But leftover anger from the rebellion caused Massachusetts to barely vote to ratify the new Constitution when it was put to a vote of the people in 1788. See


1794- the Whiskey Rebellion began in 1794 in Pennsylvania over a 1791 tax that was imposed upon whiskey distillers that was viewed as unjust, and especially unfair to small producers, who had to pay by the gallon, versus large distillers who paid a flat fee. Western farmers particularly resented this tax because it seemed to punish their habitual practice of turning their excess crops into whiskey to be sold. The tax was part of Hamilton’s financial plan to pay off the national debt (and promote the power of the federal government). After the protests turned into shooting and tarring and feathering of tax collectors, President Washington declared martial law and activated an army of militiamen from several states numbering almost 13,000. Washington and his former Revolutionary War aide Hamilton personally took control of the force and marched into western Pennsylvania. Once there, the main force of rebels melted away, but twenty alleged participants were arrested, and two were later sentenced to death for treason, although Washington commuted their sentences claiming one was an idiot and the other was crazy. The person who claimed leadership, a “Tom the Tinker,” was never found. This rebellion marked one of two times that a president has actually commanded troops in person, and showed that the federal government was strong enough to maintain itself, in contrast to that under the Articles of Confederation. Another consequence was that the common people came to feel that the Federalist party was out of touch with their concerns. The Whiskey Tax stayed on the book until 1803, although it was very difficult to collect, and many distillers then moved into the wilds of Kentucky and Tennessee, where they used corn instead to make bourbon.


1800- Gabriel Prosser’s rebellion was to be led by Gabriel and his brother Martin in Virginia. They gathered 1,000 slaves and armed them with the intention of attacking the capital of Richmond. Prosser’s plan was leaked to authorities after weather caused a delay in enacting the planned attack, and Prosser and several of his followers were executed.


1811- St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana was the location of a slave rebellion in January of this year in which 500 slaves rose up. One hundred slaves died in the ensuing mayhem.


1816- Fort Blount, Florida was the site of a battle between US Army forces and a combined force of 300 runaway slaves and Indians.


1822- Denmark Vesey’s Uprising was led by a free black man in Charleston, South Carolina, and was over before it began, as a slave informed his master of the plan before ti was actually enacted. The plan was believed to involve thousands of free and enslaved blacks, the mere possibility of which stunned local white officials. Vesey and thirty-six other conspirators were hanged after a very long series of trials.


1831- Nat Turner was convinced by a solar eclipse in February of 1831 that it was a sign from God that he should kill his master to free himself. By August, he completed his plans for a hoped-for uprising, and proceeded to kill his master and his family. Only 75 slaves joined his rebellion, however, and 3,000 whites turned out to put down the insurrection. After Turner and his small force was stopped, about 100 other slaves apparently unconnected with the resurrection were killed as well as tensions and emotions ran high. Turner was executed on November 31, after hiding for six weeks.


1859 –John Brown leads a raid with 21 other men on a federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on October 16, Virginia, hoping to use the weapons to create a massive slave uprising. Although Brown captured the arsenal, the plot failed, and he was arrested by a force of Marines led by Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, who had been on leave nearby. Brown was tried, for treason against the state of Virginia and executed, making him a “martyr for abolitionism.”


1861-1865- Civil War, or as many Southerners liked to call it, “the War of Northern Aggression” (shudder) or “the Late Unpleasantness.”  Do I really need to explain this one?


1863- The New York City Draft Riots erupted on July 11-13, 1863. The city was in the control of a powerful Democratic machine, and thus the Enrollment Act of Conscription which the Republican Lincoln passed was universally hated, including by the governor of New York. Unfortunately, the first draftees were being enlisted just as the news of the horrors of Gettysburg made the papers. Riots then broke out, predominantly among the Irish of the city , many of whom had no desire to fight to free blacks who would then compete with them for jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder. The damage from the riots was later estimated at more than one and a half million dollars, and no one knows exactly how many people died in the violence. In the end, Lincoln had to divert troops from fighting the Civil War to restore order in New York, and they had to remain in place to keep the peace. It is estimated that the hated conscription law only raised 150,00 men, most of them substitutes. See


1875-77- A General Labor Strike spread nationwide, centered primarily in the railroad industry. This strike had been building for several years, especially since the depression of 1873.  Workers forced to live in company towns suddenly saw their wages cut, often by at least 10%. In one instance, in 1875, the Reading Railroad cut wages to 54% of the 1869 levels, resulting in a strike that lasted 170 days. This was known as The Long Strike. The labor unrest  of the Long Strike of 1875 extended into the coal industry as well. A secret society known popularly as the Molly Maguires (its formal name was the Workingmen’s Benevolent Association) made up primarily of Irish who worked in the railroad industry, was blamed for  various actions of violence during the strike, and eventually nineteen were tried and executed for their activities. See for more info.


1892- Homestead Strike– Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead, Pennsylvania steel plant was the site of a violent confrontation between striking workers and Pinkerton detectives after the workers armed themselves and occupied the plant. When the Pinkertons tried to attack via the Monongahla River, they were fired upon and captured. The Pennsylvania State Militia then attacked and won the release of the Pinkerton detectives, and the union was ruthlessly crushed.


1909-12- The Black Patch War erupted over a specific rich tobacco grown in western Kentucky and Tennesse that the Duke  Tobacco tried to monopolize. Independent farmers responded to the monopolistic practices with an armed uprising that involved “Night Riders” attacking anyone or anything affiliated with the Duke Company. It took three years for the violence to end.


Race riots: Too many to describe but here are some of the more famous ones after the turn of the 20th century:

Atlanta, GA 1906

East St. Louis, IL 1917

Tulsa, OK, 1921

Harlem, NY 1935

Detroit, MI 1943

Beaumont, TX 1943

Los Angeles, CA (the Zoot Suit Riots) 1943

Harlem, NY 1963

Watts, CA 1965

Detroit, MI, 1967

Newark, NJ 1967

Baltimore, Chicago, Louisville and Washington DC in the wake of the assassination of MLK

Los Angeles, CA 1992 (after the Rodney King incident)