- Founded in Philadelphia, 1869, rapidly spread across Canada and the US
Vision of working class unity & solidarity:
- Inclusive of women and men
Embraced skilled & unskilled workers across industries
- Inclusive of workers of all ethnicities'
(Except: Chinese and other Asian workers)
> late 1880/90s 2nd Industrial Revolution geographical, scale of corporations increased
> Fortune 500 Co. a lot of them formed in the 1890s e.g. Ford etc.
Vision of social reform:
- Trade Union organizing
- Electoral involvement
- Social and cultural activity (e.g. temperance movement=> against the consumption of
alcohol, partly connected to the socialist movement)
- Local Assemblies, defined by trade or in small communities as "Mixed Assemblies"
open to all workers, affiliated to District (regional assemblies)
- Especially powerful in Southern Ontario, urban Quebec (manufacturing and trades)
and BC (miners)
- Potentially as high as 20-40% membership of workers in some communities &
industries at height in 1880-1890s
*Anybody could join the Knights of Labour, could change the social life…
*Imp: Early unions would try to embrace everybody *Canadian Labour movement they
didn't last too long cause of employer power
- Summing up:
- Hypothesize on why the knights so quickly declined over a few years in the late 1890s
after growing so significantly just a decade earlier.
- Did the Knights of Labour contribute a lasting legacy to the Canadian Labour
movement? Why or why not?
1, Possibly because of the increase of larger corporations also because they mostly
constituted of minorities, so they didn't really stand a chance, blacklists, radicals,
2, Yes, they significantly stand out when one recalls history of unions, only men had the
upper hand in the workforce, but the knights of labour embraced everyone regardless of
gender, race IWW heavily influenced by the knights of labour, anti strike
more militant, simultaneously they had very conservative tendencies as well
1890's - 91: Rise of Monopoly Capitalism
- National and international corporations replacing single-site firms owned by local
proprietors - New emerging industries from technological innovation: steel, auto motives, pulp and
paper, electrical components, rubber
- Expansion of scale to penetrate new markets with continental expansion of the
railroad, faster transatlantic shipping
- This magnificent African cake - colonialism
- the Age of Imperialism
- Nation-state building - standardized property laws, territorial control + railroads:
regional to national & continental markets
Imperialism: raw material supply chains and foreign markets for finished goods (esp.
Brit. Empire, later the US)
- Centre of eme