Big Corporations Dbq

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The combination of the government’s post-Civil War conservative laissez-faire economic policy and its aid to the industry, such as the land grants to the railroad companies and infusion of capital and favorable tax, brought industrial boom and the creation of big corporations at the last third of the 19th century. The big corporations used unfair practices to monopolize the industry and maximize their profits. These practices included “pooling”, the agreement to divide territory and share earnings between companies, favorable “rebates” offered by the railroads to large shippers yet charging small shippers such as farmers, and frequent “kickback” bribes to government officials. As a result there was an increasing disparity between the rich and …show more content…

However, for the union workers, striking was ineffective because the big corporations called on courts and troops to break the strike and order strikers back to work with reduced wage as in the Railroad Strike of 1877, Homestead Strike of 1892, and Pullman Strike of 1894. In the Haymarket Riot of 1886, eight anarchists were convicted of bombing and murdering policemen. This led the public to associate labor unions and strikes with violence and radicalism. This public belief can be seen in Thomas Nast’s cartoon “Labor Against Capital” published in Harper’s Weekly, 1878 (Document C), where it illustrated the labor representative killing a goose (capital) with an onlooking …show more content…

This cartoon showed cooks (labor union, anarchists, socialists, and Knights of Labor) fighting each other over the broth (labor interest), and implied the lack of unity with too many groups fighting to represent the workers. Some of the union groups like AFL also excluded African Americans, Chinese workers, women, and unskilled workers from membership. There were also different goals of unions mixed in with those of anarchists and foreign influences. In addition, the association of the labor movement with the anarchists further undermined its cause in the public eye. Finally, the organized labor was unsuccessful because the government often sided with the big corporations in dealing with worker unions. In one of the most egregious cases of the court siding with industry against labor (Supreme Court v Debs), a federal judge issued an injunction ordering the Union to stop a strike against one of the most flagrant abusers of industrial power, the Pullman Palace Car Company. Corrupt government officials were bribed by big corporations. The courts legalized use of injunctions and often called upon federal troops to break up union

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