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a plan of action to establish a co-operative shop under the auspices of the international union. This plan, however, which was later adopted by the Knights of Labor under the title of integral co-operation," was not adopted at this time, but there was a fair number of machinists' shops on the joint stock plan.

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The taking up of productive co-operation brought the workingmen face to face with the credit problem. For, granting that they had sufficient to start the shops, they needed capital to finance their output. This need of a credit system naturally led to monetary reform which, as we shall presently see, was placed by the National Labor Union at the head of its platform in 1867.

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The chief hindrance to the success of the National Labor Union was the lack of adequate provision for revenue to cover expenses. The executive council had been authorised to levy a tax of 25 cents on each member of the National Labor Union, but the officers confessed their inability to determine who were members," as the constituency of that body had been "indistinctly defined and but questionably established." The lukewarmness of the affiliated organisations in providing revenue should not, however, be interpreted as a disagreement with the principles of the National Labor Union. President Whaley reported at the next convention that the platform had been invariably adopted by all unions before which it was brought for ratification.

Secretary Gibson,68 within a month after the first convention in 1866, issued notices for subscriptions to the proceedings of that convention, but financial returns were insufficient to warrant their publication in pamphlet form. Treasurer Hinchcliffe received from the local tax for running expenses only $205.21 and disbursed $187.25.

The three States which had made substantial progress in the

88 Evidence of his zeal is found in the records of his correspondence during the year. Without clerical assistance he wrote 1,387 letters, and received 956.

He also distributed 2,157 printed letters, and 5,816 addresses and circulars. Meanwhile he received only $75.38, and expended $791.62.

work of organisation during the year, were New York, under the leadership of William J. Jessup,69 Connecticut, under Alfred W. Phelps, and California, under A. M. Kennady. These were the States which passed eight-hour laws.

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An important event in the year's work was the issuing of an Address to the Workingmen of the United States by the committee, of which A. C. Cameron was chairman, appointed for that purpose by the last convention. Realising that their address would be subject to the "criticism of the entire capitalistic press " of the country, and in order that it might be "catholic in spirit, comprehensive in scope, simple in diction and unanswerable in argument," the committee had asked for two weeks' time in which to prepare it for the public. But it was not ready until July, 1867. The address, while probably not "unanswerable in argument," doubtless was comprehensive in scope." It dealt with every problem that affected labour,70 eight hours, co-operation, trade unions, the apprentice system, strikes, female labour, Negro labour, the public domain, and political action. Eight hours was declared to be "engrossing the attention of the American workman, and, in fact, the American people," and the arguments in its favour were substantially the same as at the first convention. But the subject of co-operation was given much more prominence. After reciting the success of co-operation in England, it stated that "there are special reasons and needs for the existence of co-operative efforts in this country, for here there is less disposition on the part of capital to combine and co-operate with labour, than elsewhere, in consequence of the excessive accumulations of capital by the great rates of interest which prevail in this country." This was the first suggestion in American trade union documents of what the next year became the accepted platform of greenbackism.

On the subjects of the public domain, trade unionism, strikes, and apprenticeship, the address differed little from the declarations of the convention, although with regard to the last named, the doctrine of vested rights in a trade was more clearly applied.

69 Jessup contributed individually toward the expenses of the organisation. 70 It was printed in pamphlet form and

widely distributed. Doc. Hist., IX, 141– 168.

But Negro labour and female labour were elaborately treated. The Negro problem was discussed both from the economic and the political side. Attention was called to the recent case of the importation of Negro caulkers from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Boston during an eight-hour strike, and the need of a general consolidation of labour regardless of race was deduced. But still greater attention was called to the coming importance of the Negro as a voter and the question was squarely put: "Can we afford to reject their proffered co-operation and make them enemies?" The address concluded on this question that "the interests of the workingmen in America especially requires that the formation of Trades' Unions, Eight Hour Leagues, and other labour organisations should be encouraged among the coloured race."

With reference to the subject of female labour, the address conceded that in many trades women were qualified to fill the positions formerly occupied by men, but demanded that they should also get the same compensation as men.

The last and the most important section of the address dealt with "political action." Like the platform adopted at the convention, it called upon the workingmen to "cut aloof from the ties and trammels of party, manipulated in the interest of capital" and to use the ballot in their own interests. However, unlike the convention, the address did not treat political action in connection with the eight-hour law, but linked it with the abolition of "our iniquitous monetary and financial system," which reduced the "producing classes" to a state of servitude. This change is an indication that the labour movement of the sixties was already abandoning wage-consciousness for the consciousness of the "producer," embracing alike wage-earners, small manufacturers, and farmers.

The adoption by the labour movement of the point of view of the "producer," took place at a time when the movement of discontent spread all along the line of the " producing classes." As shown in the preceding chapter, the wage-earners were the only class obliged to organise during the years of war prosperity. The farmers were reaping the benefits of high prices and had no incentive to organise. But the falling prices after the War affected the farmer and the wage-earner alike. They

meant unemployment and low wages to the latter and operation at a loss to the former. The wage-earners felt the turning tide sooner on account of the return of the soldiers to industry, and they hastened to start a movement for remedial legislation — an eight-hour law. By the year 1867 the farmers began keenly to feel the depression and we consequently find them joining with the wage-earners in a movement for legislation that would benefit the "producer" instead of the "capitalist." When the second convention of the National Labor Union met in Chicago, August 19, 1867, it contained four delegates from three anti-monopoly associations in Illinois 71 and two representatives from land and labour leagues in Michigan. All of these organisations represented the farmers' interests and were but a small fraction of the numerous farmers' political clubs, which were then rapidly forming in the agricultural States of the West,72


The representation of the purely wage-earners' organisations had undergone some change since the Baltimore convention. The number of national unions which sent delegates had grown from 3 to 6,73 the number of trades' assemblies had decreased from 11 to 9, and local trade unions from 41 to 33, but the eight-hour leagues increased from 4 to 9 and there was 1 state organisation. The total number of organisations was 64, and of delegates, 71. The well-known leaders were nearly all present. There were Gibson and Whaley, Sylvis and Trevellick, Hinchcliffe and Cameron, Jessup and Phelps. The Lassalean Schlägel, although not a delegate, was seated by a special resolution. Prominent absentees, who had been present at Baltimore, were Fincher and Troup, but their absence was more than balanced by the presence of Sylvis and Trevellick. The important fact was the larger representation of national trade unions, showing that legislative action had found adherents among all forms of labour organisations.

President Whaley's report pointed out that the lack of a

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steady source of revenue accounted for the inactivity of the organisation. He dwelt on the importance of the Negro question and emphatically declared that co-operation was "the great panacea for the evils complained of by the working classes on account of an unequal distribution of the profits arising from their labour."

Secretary Gibson, in his report, suggested a more closely knitted organisation and called upon the convention to evolve a plan of action which should be not only national but international, because "there is much activity and intelligent enterprise beyond the waters, and we may gain much strength and encouragement from them, while our free institutions should shed their light upon the darkness of usurpation and monarchical oppression." He also laid great stress upon the currency ques


The first important work of this convention was the adoption of a constitution. It was worked out by a committee consisting of Isaac J. Neal, W. H. Sylvis, William Harding, W. J. Jessup, and D. Evans. The characteristic feature that distinguished this constitution from the old temporary one, was the greater amount of recognition granted to national trade unions. It provided that "every International or National organisation shall be entitled to three representatives and a Vice-President at large, State organisations to two, Trade Unions and all other organisations to one representative in the National Labor Congress." Dues were apportioned according to membership, with a maximum of $6 for organisations with more than 500 members. Provision was also made for a salary for the president.

The discussion on the subjects of trade unionism, apprenticeship, eight hours and public lands contained little of original merit. A resolution deplored the fact that "the various industrial organisations now comprising the National Labour Organisation for all practical purposes, embracing labour compensation, the hours of labour, and the matters affecting the rights of the employer and employé, are acting independently under the jurisdiction of their National and International Unions," 75 and recommended more uniformity among these organisations. The National Labor Union, of course, would

75 Chicago Workingman's Advocate, Aug. 24, 1867.

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