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induced a movement for higher wages. The San Francisco Trades' Assembly was established in 1863. After the War, when the soldiers had returned to industry, the California movement had taken up enthusiastically the agitation for the eighthour day. A. M. Kenaday,33 president of the trades' assembly, went to the capitol at Sacramento in the winter of 1865 in the interest of an eight-hour law, but the bill failed in the senate after passing the lower house. President Whaley, of the National Labor Union, 1866, appointed Kenaday vice-president for California, and later, at the convention of 1867 in Chicago, highly commended his work.

Unlike the East, California did not experience the industrial depression that came upon the heels of the war prosperity. In that State, therefore, the trade unions attempted to gain the eight-hour day through strikes and were eminently successful in 1867 in the majority of the building trades. Eight-hour leagues multiplied among the various trades in the early months of 1867 and operated with such remarkable success that on June 2, 1867, the San Francisco Morning Call stated that "despite the existence of eight-hour laws in other communities, the fact exists that the eight-hour system is more in vogue in this city than in any other part of the world, although there are no laws to enforce it."

A workingmen's convention, composed of 140 delegates, representing the various trades, as well as anti-coolie clubs, met in San Francisco, March 29, 1867, formulated demands for a mechanics' lien law, an eight-hour law, and the repression of coolie labour, and decided to take part in the primary state election with the object of nominating candidates who favoured these measures. This move was singularly successful, and at the session of the legislature in 1868 the eight-hour and mechanics' lien laws were passed. The workingmen's convention had expelled Kenaday from its membership because he advocated its affiliation with the National Labor Union, and the

33 Alexander M. Kenaday was born in 1829 in Wheeling, W. Va., of Irish parentage. He learned the printer's trade in St. Louis. He enlisted twice in the Mexican War and distinguished himself by bravery. After the War he went to California and, having no success as 8

prospector, he went to San Francisco and took up his trade as a printer. After leaving the labour movement in 1867, he devoted his time to the organisation and management of the National Association of Mexican War Veterans. He died in 1897.


leadership in the labour movement then passed to Á. M. Winn,3 who was the head and heart of the Mechanics' State Council established in August, 1867. This was a non-political organisation, but was organised primarily for the purpose of questioning candidates for legislative offices regarding labour measures. It was so careful in maintaining its non-political character that it did not affiliate with the National Labor Union until 1869 for fear of becoming involved in labour politics. It showed, however, great zeal in securing eight-hour legislation by nonpolitical methods. Winn went to Washington in 1869 and spent some months in an unsuccessful effort to secure the passage of a law which should positively require that all public work, whether done by the day or under contract, should be subject to the eight-hour work-day requirement.

Greenbackism and other middle-class philosophies never acquired a foothold in this State. California, having held to the gold currency, had not experienced the acute depression which prevailed in the East during 1867 and 1868 as a result of the contraction of paper currency. The labour movement, therefore, was not forced to seek succour in co-operation or in the greenbackism that followed in its wake.

A change for the worse in the industrial situation came in 1869 at the time when the East was recovering from the depression. The opening of the first transcontinental railroad in that year not only threw many thousands of both Chinese and whites out of work, but it brought on a local depression by enabling the cheaper products of eastern manufacture to compete with those of California. Besides, railroad communications caused a large influx of workingmen from the East. The depression and the tremendous amount of unemployment increased the demand for Chinese exclusion. The Chinese now came to be regarded as the supreme cause of unemployment and of the destitute condition of the white workingmen.

They had first appeared in the mining regions in the early fifties and the first measures took the form of local expulsion

34 A. M. Winn was a native of Virginia, and went to Vicksburg, Miss., thence to California in 1848, and was the first president of the Sacramento City Council. He was 8 contractor and

builder and on coming to San Francisco engaged in the planing mill business and was comparatively wealthy. He died in 1883.

from miners' communities. The objections raised against the presence of the Chinese were the competitive menace of their extremely low standard of living and their apparent inability to rise to the American standard. The state legislature was, of course, powerless under the constitution to prevent Chinese immigration.

The attitude of California on the Chinese question was reflected in the convention of the National Labor Union in 1869. A. M. Winn represented the California Mechanics' State Council, but he had been given little opportunity to impress the California demand of Chinese exclusion upon the convention. The committee on coolie labour, with Cameron as chairman, and the socialist, Adolph Douai, a prominent member, made a report, condemning the importation of contract coolie labour, calling for the rigid enforcement of the law of Congress of 1862 prohibiting coolie importation, but affirming "that voluntary Chinese emigration ought to enjoy the protection of the laws like other citizens." The report brought out considerable debate and was finally recommitted, three men being added to the committee: Winn, Cummings, of the Crispins, and Jessup, of the New York Workingmen's Union. The committee, however, did not report again, and the platform adopted by the convention contained a plank in the sense of the above report.

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The order of the Knights of St. Crispin at this time was practically the only important labour organisation outside of the coast region in sympathy with the policy of exclusion. During a wage dispute with the Crispins, a shoe manufacturer of North Adams, Massachusetts, had by contract imported from California - 3,000 miles seventy-five Chinese to take the places of the strikers.35 The general agitation which this action provoked among all classes of labour served to bring the national labour movement into closer sympathy with the California point of view. At the next convention of the National Labor Union in 1870 the general labour movement was ready to take the step from merely advocating the prohibition of Chinese importation to demanding total exclusion.

While the workingmen's sentiment was thus maturing in this direction, the Burlingame treaty was signed between the

35 Doc. Hist., IX, 84-88.

United States and China, November 23, 1869. The treaty of 1844, followed by that of 1858, had opened some of the ports of China to the merchants of the United States and had secured from them the privileges of trade and commerce. In addition to this, protection was guaranteed the lives and property of American citizens within that country. The Burlingame treaty, however, went further and declared that "Chinese subjects visiting or residing in the United States, shall have the same privileges, immunities and exemptions in respect to travel or residence as may there be enjoyed by the citizens or the subjects of the most favoured nation." It was this sentence which caused the greater part of the trouble in California during the next thirteen years.

At the convention in Cincinnati, in 1870, Trevellick in his presidential address declared against the importation but not against the free immigration of the Chinese. The committee on the presidential address refused concurrence on this point and was sustained by the convention. The spokesman from California was W. W. Delaney, sent by the Mechanics' State Council, and he was made chairman of the committee on coolie labour. The committee's report stated that "the importation and the present system of the immigration of the coolie labour in these United States is ruinous to the life principles of our Republic, destroying the system of free labour which is the basis of a republican form of government . . [and further] that this National Labor Congress demands the abrogation of the treaty between the United States and China, whereby Chinese are allowed to be imported to our shores."


The debate which followed evinced but little opposition to the proposed measure. Particularly emphatic in his support of the report was Cummings, the representative of the Crispins. Even Trevellick changed his original position. The resolution was adopted and Delaney returned to California well satisfied with the results of his mission.36

Chinese exclusion continued to furnish the sole basis of the

36 Delaney was given a commission to organise branches of the National Labor Union in his State. Several such branches were formed during the following year, but were short-lived. They met frequently, discussed various issues, and

passed resolutions upon the questions of labour, capital, land, taxation, and other matters, but accomplished nothing whatsoever of any importance. In January, 1872, the organisation held a state convention in San Francisco, adopted a plat

California movement during the seventies and early eighties, until the passage of the Federal Exclusion Act of 1882. The national labour movement consistently gave California its support on this momentous problem.


In 1870 the conditions surrounding the national labour movement had radically changed. After the law of February, 1868, prohibiting further contraction of paper currency, industry began slowly to recuperate, and with this the prospects of successful trade union action considerably improved. Added to this was the fact that practically all of the co-operative ventures had by this time failed, and others, like the co-operative foundry in Troy, had lapsed into ordinary joint-stock companies. The consequence was a new and vigorous development of trade unions, accompanied by an aggressive policy towards employers.

Viewed from the standpoint of the form of organisation, the revival of trade unionism in 1868 was unlike the revival during the time of the War, in that the national trade unions, and not the trades' assemblies, were now the chief beneficiaries of the heightened wave of organisation.

The high water mark was reached by the revived trade union movement in the spring of 1872, when it surpassed by its universality and uniform success even the movement of the days of war prosperity. In March, 1872, a vast number of workingmen of New York City, mostly in the building trades, struck for the eight-hour day. The number of strikers was estimated at 100,000. The strike lasted three months and ended very successfully. The eight-hour day was gained by the bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, painters, brown and blue-stone cutters, stone-masons, masons' labourers, paper hangers (when working by the day), and plate printers.37 On May 22, 1872, Horace Greeley wrote that the dissatisfaction had extended into all the leading mechanical trades,

form, and decided to enter politics. It faithfully supported the national organisation in the experiment of the presidential

nomination in 1872, and together they went down in defeat.

37 McNeill, The Labor Movement: The Problem of To-day, 143.

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