History Channel’s Labor Day Beginnings

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.

FANNING THE BARBECUE hot classic barbecue babe by vintage pinup artist Gil Elvgren to celebrate hot hot summer Labor Day

Fanning the Barbecue by Gil Elvgren

Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.Child Labor is not working

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it.Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives.

In 1894, people throughout the nation relied on such publications as Leslie's Illustrated Weekly to keep up with the drama that was unfolding with the Pullman strike in Chicago.

In 1894, people throughout the nation relied on such publications as Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly to keep up with the drama that was unfolding with the Pullman strike in Chicago.

On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.

Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday. Labor Day is still celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, it represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.

Alexander Hamilton Quiz Answers

Hamilton is a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  The show, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.

Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Alexander Hamilton in the hit Broadway musical.

Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Alexander Hamilton in the hit Broadway musical. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

 

1. Where was Alexander Hamilton born?

a. Puerto Rico
b. Nevis Island
c. Philadelphia
d. Florida Keys

Answer: b.  Correct! You really know your history! You can still visit Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace, but you’ll need a boat or a plane to get there. Hamilton was born on Nevis Island in the West Indies. Today, the two-story stone house is the site of the Alexander Hamilton Museum and hosts the Nevis House of Assembly on the second floor.

2. Which of the following versions of U.S. currency has Alexander Hamilton never appeared on?

a. $100 bill
b. $2 bill
c. $20 bill
d. $1,000 bill

Answer: a. That’s right! You should work for the Library of Congress! In addition to the $10 bill, the former Secretary of the Treasury has graced numerous notes over the years, including versions of the $2, $5, $20, $50 and $1,000 bills. However, he never appeared on the $100 bill.

 

3. Which of the following did Alexander Hamilton help create?

a. The United States Revenue Cutter Service
b. The United States Postal Service
c.  The United States Marines
d. The Department of Defense

Answer a. Alexander Hamilton founded the United States Revenue Cutter Service (USRCS), a predecessor to the United States Coast Guard. USRCS ships were charged with patrolling the waters near port cities to ensure that cargo was offloaded legally and not smuggled through customs.

 

4. What was the name of the infamous location where Alexander Hamilton dueled with Aaron Burr?

a. The O.K. Corral
b. Dealey Plaza
c. Weehawken
d. Ford’s Theater

Answer c.  You can visit the Weehawken Dueling Grounds, site of the infamous Hamilton-Burr duel and see a statue of Hamilton and a stone that the mortally wounded Founding Father allegedly rested on.

An inscription on the rock reads:
“UPON THIS STONE RESTED THE HEAD OF THE PATRIOT, SOLDIER, STATESMAN, AND JURIST ALEXANDER HAMILTON AFTER THE DUEL WITH AARON BURR.”

 

5. Where and when did the first recorded duel in America take place?

a. 1608 in Jamestown, Va.
b. 1804 in Weehawken, N.J.
c. 1775 in Philadelphia, Pa.
d. 1621 in Plymouth, Mass.

Answer d.  Edward Doty and Edward Lester, of the Massachusetts colony, fought a duel using swords near Plymouth Rock in 1621, less than a year after the Mayflower arrived in America.

 

6. After Hamilton passed away, did dueling decline or increase in popularity?

a. Increased in popularity
b. Decreased

Answer a. Dueling in the United States increased in popularity in the years following Hamilton’s death. However, by the time the Civil War began, its popularity began to wane as public opinion searched for more effective ways to solve grievances.

 

7. Where are the Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols stored today?

a. The Hamilton Grange National Memorial in New York City
b. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
c. The JP Morgan Chase & Co. archives in New York City
d. Alexander Hamilton Museum on Nevis Island

Answer c. The Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols are housed at the JP Morgan Chase & Co. archives, but they cannot be viewed by the public at this time.

 

8. How did Alexander Hamilton’s son, Philip, pass away?

a. During battle
b. In a duel
c. Drowned at sea
d. Smallpox

Answer b. Sadly, three years before Alexander met his fate, Philip, like his father, was shot at the Weehawken Dueling Grounds.

 

9. Which of Alexander Hamilton’s family members helped raise funds to construct the Washington Monument?

a. His daughter, Angelica
b. His son, Alexander Jr.
c. His wife, Eliza
d. His son, John

Answer c.  Eliza, Alexander’s wife, outlived her husband by 50 years. Ever-devoted to her spouse and his accomplishments, she worked tirelessly to promote his legacy. Later in life, she also helped raise funds to construct the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital. Eliza passed away in 1854 at the age of 97 and is buried alongside her husband at the cemetery behind Trinity Church in New York City.

 

Click here to find out “5 Things You Didn’t Know about Alexander Hamilton” from History Channel’s website from his many accomplishments to being party to one of America’s first highly publicized political sex scandals.

 

Alexander Hamilton Quiz

Hamilton is a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda as “Hamilton”
Photo by Mark Seliger for Rolling Stone

1. Where was Alexander Hamilton born?

a. Puerto Rico
b. Nevis Island
c. Philadelphia
d. Florida Keys

 

2. Which of the following versions of U.S. currency has Alexander Hamilton never appeared on?

a. $100 bill
b. $2 bill
c. $20 bill
d. $1,000 bill

 

3. Which of the following did Alexander Hamilton help create?

a. The United States Revenue Cutter Service
b. The United States Postal Service
c. The United States Marines
d. The Department of Defense

 

 

4. What was the name of the infamous location where Alexander Hamilton dueled with Aaron Burr?

a. The O.K. Corral
b. Dealey Plaza
c. Weehawken
d. Ford’s Theater

 

 

5. Where and when did the first recorded duel in America take place?

a. 1608 in Jamestown, Va.
b. 1804 in Weehawken, N.J.
c. 1775 in Philadelphia, Pa.
d. 1621 in Plymouth, Mass.

 

 

6. After Hamilton passed away, did dueling decline or increase in popularity?

a. Increased in popularity
b. Decreased

 

 

7. Where are the Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols stored today?

a. The Hamilton Grange National Memorial in New York City
b. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
c. The JP Morgan Chase & Co. archives in New York City
d. Alexander Hamilton Museum on Nevis Island

 

 

8. How did Alexander Hamilton’s son, Philip, pass away?

a. During battle
b. In a duel
c. Drowned at sea
d. Smallpox

 

 

9. Which of Alexander Hamilton’s family members helped raise funds to construct the Washington Monument?

a. His daughter, Angelica
b. His son, Alexander Jr.
c. His wife, Eliza
d. His son, John

 

 

Answers will be revealed later today…. or head over to Google if you can’t wait.