| Part A | Document 1 | Document 2 | Document 3 | Document 4 | Document 5 | Document 6 | Document 7 | Part B |

The 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike

Document 7

The Lawrence Revolution

By WALTER MERRIAM PRATT*

       A large majority of these strikers were Italians, Poles, Greeks, Syrians or other untutored people. These poor people did not understand the economic situation; they did not even understand English and were an easy prey to the agitation. About this time Joseph J. Ettor appeared upon the scene. Ettor is only twenty-six years of age but has been a leader in frightful outbreaks in Brooklyn and Patterson and prominent in the bloody riots of Schoenville, Pa. He is a man of unlimited physical vitality and wonderful capacity for leadership and a pronounced Socialist. In a few days he had become the idol of the workers of all the races, who believed every word of his incendiary speeches. He even fooled the general public and until he advocated the use of violence, which resulted in bloodshed he had the majority of the people with him. His misstatements were so cleverly made that at first they were believed. And it was generally taken for granted that the mill operatives were a much trodden, badly treated and under paid lot of people. This is not a fact. Instead of receiving five dollars a week as has been stated, the average wage, not including the higher officials, is between nine and ten dollars and it is largely a man's own fault if he receives only the average wage. Any intelligent person may become a skilled weaver and receive twenty to twenty-five dollars. The conditions under which the operators work are pleasant and everything possible is done to protect their health and bodies. Most of the mills are new and of modern construction and no expense has been spared to make the ventilation, light and sanitary condition the best. Some of the mills have escalators to the top floor and restaurants where an ample dinner may be purchased for ten cents, while most of the mills have shower baths. The American Woollen Company has built some two hundred houses, each seven rooms and bath which rent for eighteen dollars per month. The un-Americanized foreign element, however, are not educated up to things of this kind and if their pay was many times what it is they unquestionably would prefer to live as they do. Half a dozen families in one small tenement, eight or ten in a room wallowed in dirt.

*Walter Merriam Pratt was a First Lieutenant of the Eighth Regiment and Battalion Adjutant on Colonel Sweetser's staff. He went to Lawrence the day the trouble broke out and remained on duty until relieved at the end of twenty-six days.

 

 --Excerpt from Walter M. Pratt, "The Lawrence Revolution," New England Magazine, March 1912

13. According to Pratt, what was the role of the IWW and the Socialists in the strike?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

14. Did Pratt believe that the workers had a just reason to strike?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

15. How did Pratt view immigrants?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

To Part B

 

| Teacher's Corner | DBQs | Other Classroom Uses | Teaching Links |

| Documents Projects and Archives | Teacher's Corner | Scholar's Edition | Full-Text Sources | About Us | Contact Us |