Labor Question


The "labor question"  was a major concern of Americans in 1912.

Each of the political parties that competed in the election of 1912 developed its own, often very different, position on the question: how to solve the problems of the worker in an industrial society?

A Perilous Situation

Many Americans in 1912 feared that their society was coming apart in a brutal conflict between "capital" and "labor," leaving the "public" out of the picture.  A voter who was forty years of age in 1912 had grown up in a nation where spectacular strikes had disturbed production and often led to violence.  This cartoon drawn by Frank Beard in the 1890s captured the widely held perception that while the two sides were fighting on the plank of greed and threatening financial ruin, other persons were suffering poverty as a result.

The first part of this site introduces two major LABOR UNIONS of the time period and tells the story of a famous strike that occurred in 1912. 

The second part examines how the four POLITICAL PARTIES running presidential candidates in 1912 chose to address the issue of organized labor.