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The 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike

Document 3

SHALL WOOL AND COTTON KINGS RULE THE NATION?

       Revolting against a long train of appalling wrongs, 25,000 textile workers are on strike in Lawrence, Mass. Men and women, children even, are rebelling against a system of industrial slavery unequaled in its horrors in any part of the world.  

       The inhuman treatment and oppressive toil brought American, English, Irish, German, French, Polish, Belgian, Bohemian, Lithuanian, Jewish, Spanish, Portuguese, Syrian, Abyssinian, and Turkish workers together into one big army of toilers, who have joined hands and hearts for a fight against a brutal system of exploitation introduced in all the mills of Lawrence, a system which the manufacturers of cotton and woolen textiles thought of introducing in the mills everywhere.  

       The outcries of protests by the aroused toilers everywhere tell us that the whole working class is feeling the insults that the oppressors added to the long train of injury and abuse. The workers everywhere know that we are fighting, struggling, so that hundreds of thousands of others, yes, millions, may share in the benefits of this fierce revolt.  

       It is your duty to help. Our duty will be done; a duty we owe to ourselves and to the working class of the whole country.

                Strike Committee
                Joseph Bedard, Secretary

-- Excerpts from Textile Workers' Strike Committee, "Shall Wool and Cotton Kings Rule the Nation?" 1912

7.  What differences among the workers did the strike leaders have to overcome to organize the protest?

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8.  On what common ground did these workers unite?

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