The political history of United States since 1866 to 1920 is majorly concerned with the establishment of the union workers’ political parties. It did not matter how long it took but as long as it was made a distinct political party. By uniting workers to form one party with one voice to fight for the struggle of workers, was the earliest development of the politic of the United States.
In the political history of America, there has been the struggle between the owners of the wealth or resource and the people who produce this wealth. The gains that have been realized so far are linked to the struggles of the workers for their rights. Examples of these rights include; the rights to education, ending of child labor, ending of slavery, eight hours working, the right to organize, and the right to healthcare at work among others.
Between 1860 and 1894, there was a handful fabulous wealthy Americans known as the robber barons who owned major economic sites in the country such as banks. Later they were joined by the Morgans and the Rockefellers to form the ruling class towards the end of the century. The robber barons wanted to defend their interests and thus they joined other big businesses to form two big business political parties known as the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republican being considered as the party for the slave owners, it was reformed to form a second party of big businesses in the country. In 1866, the National Labor Union was formed by William Sylvis to foresee the interest of all the workers irrespective of color. From 1860 onwards there were constant important social trends of the labor movements in the country. As the struggle continued, in 1867, International Workmen’s Association was founded to unite workers.
In 1886, New York Labor Party Movement was formed out of the mistreatment of workers who were in eight-day movement in Chicago. The first task of the party was to fight for the arrested union workers. As the motion was put in the central labor union, labor party was formed and the party nominated Henry George as the candidate for post of the mayor in New York City. Labor offices and clubs were created all over New York and people offered to support the mayor in New York post but the candidate lost fraudulently. The movement by the labors swept across the country and congressional candidates were run in 14 states and many for local elections. For example the labor candidate in Chicago state won 27% of all the votes which was quite improvement for the party.
The United States labor showed a turning point in 1893 and1894 when there was an economic depression. Some members of the union lost jobs as the railway workers organized themselves for a strike that led to its closure. The events led the AFL to demand the closure of the labor unions in Chicago in order to win the workers. This event as described by the recent Wall Street Journal as the event that helped to shape the country’s labor unions. In 1901, Socialist Party was formed and Eugene Debs ran as its candidate for presidential elections in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. In 1906 after the recession the party gained widespread support as candidates ran for several different seats. In 1912 the Socialist Party gained more support as its supporters reached one million countrywide. The presidential candidate Eugene Debs then won one million votes. In 1905 the workers came together to form a military labor organization known as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) which fought for workers rights too.
During the world war one, Eugene Debs was set to prison for failing to support the war and in 1920 elections he won almost a million votes from prison. In Chicago, the labor federation had mobilized its forces to win a quarter of the votes using Labor Party. The repression of 1919 steel strike cut shot the labor movements of 1919-1920.The aspect of history that I found most interesting is the 1920 elections when the leader of the Socialist Party, Eugene Debs won 900000 votes from prison. This shows that the workers were still organized despite the harassments from the employers.