High School

HS Unit III: Voices of Labor - Working People Organize, 1925-1930


By the beginning of the twentieth century, more American families depended on industry than agriculture for their livelihoods. Massachusetts was among the first states to be transformed by industrialization and urbanization. It led the way in setting the terms on which manufacturers and their employees would deal with each other. Female factory workers, union organizers, idealistic owners, and child laborers all played a role in determining how Massachusetts would make the transition from farm to factory.

Essential Question

What strategies do employers and workers use to advance and reconcile their different interests?


US1.128: Explain the emergence and impact of the textile industry in New England and industrial growth generally throughout antebellum America

A. the technological improvements and inventions that contributed to industrial growth

B. the causes and impact of the wave of immigration from Northern Europe to the U.S. in the 1840s and 1850s

C. the rise of a business class of merchants and manufacturers

D. the roles of women in New England textile factories

USII.5: Explain the formation and goals of unions as well as the rise of radical political parties during the Industrial era.

Unit Lessons:

Lesson A: Creating a Context

Organizing Idea:

Over the course of the nineteenth century, spurred by technological innovation and fueled by cheap labor, the nation's economy shifted steadily away from agriculture and towards industrial production.

Lesson B: Working Toward Change

Organizing Idea:

As the economy became increasingly industrialized, workers and their supporters organized campaigns to win fair wages and decent working conditions.

Lesson C: The Right to Strike?

Organizing Idea:

Strikes in Massachusetts demonstrated the various ways labor and management addressed the inherent tension between them.