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as none of the organizations represented had instructed their delegates in this respect, and for other reasons obvious to all who will investigate the matter closely." In consequence it prepared an entirely new constitution which could be adopted by the organisations in existence. The committee then outlined a plan, with the state organisation as the basic unit and with city and county industrial councils subordinate to it. It was, however, stipulated that each national trade union might elect a special secretary to look after its interests in the congress. This constitution was adopted and the congress adjourned, having previously adopted a series of resolutions; one designating July 4, 1876, as the date for the eight-hour system to go into effect by a "united movement on the part of the working masses of the United States "; another requesting aid for the striking anthracite miners and Sons of Vulcan; still another instructing the executive committee to correspond with the head officers of labour organisations throughout the world; and finally one designating arbitration and co-operation as "subjects for special discussion and action at the next session of the Industrial Congress." A set of officers was elected with Jackson H. Wright, of Ohio, president, and an executive board composed of Cameron, Schilling, Ben Johnson, of Pennsylvania, H. J. Walls, of Ohio, and James Connelly, of New York.

There is no evidence that the organisation continued to exist after this congress. In 1876 at Pittsburgh, another attempt was made toward the unification of the labour movement, but it came from a different source and belongs to the events of the succeeding period. Thus, in the period of long and severe depression the attempt to form a national federation of trade unions terminated as did the National Labor Union. It gave way to a new form of greenbackism.


With the rapid disintegration of trade unions during 1874 and 1875, the initiative of a political party had to come from another and more self-confident factor. This was the independent political organisation of the farmers.

10 In the preparation of this section the graph by Louis Mayer, The Greenback author drew from an unpublished mono- Labor Movement, 1874-1884.


Growing out of the agitation conducted by the Patrons of Husbandry there arose by 1874, in many States, farmers' parties, known variously as "anti-monopoly" or "reform" or independent" parties. These were playing an important part in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and California and, to a lesser degree, in Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, and Michigan. In only two states, Indiana and Illinois, did the movement rest upon the principle of greenbackism, in the other States it was directed against railroad and warehouse monopolies. However, the continued depression, which affected agriculture and other industries alike, turned attention to the prospects of a national greenback party, and the convention of the farmers' party in Indiana, August 12, 1874, issued an invitation for a national conference to meet in Indianapolis in November.

Among the labour men invited were A. C. Cameron; Alexander Troup, then editor of the New Haven Union; Robert Schilling, president of the Coopers' National Union; Richard Trevellick; J. H. Wright, president of the Indianapolis Trades' Assembly and of the National Industrial Congress; and finally Horace H. Day, the philanthropic labour reformer, formerly active in the National Labor Reform party.

The conference met November 25. It was presided over by James Buchanan, an Indianapolis lawyer who was to play a prominent part in the greenback movement throughout its duration. All but four people in attendance came from Indiana. From among the labour men only Schilling and Day were present.

For a preliminary national convention to be held early the next year at Cleveland, the conference formulated a "basis of union," which exclusively dealt with the money question. It declared that "the solution of the money question more deeply affects the material interests of the people than any other questions in issue before the people," demanded the payment of the national debt in greenbacks, and the issue of interconvertible legal tender currency and bonds bearing not more than 3.65 per cent per annum.

A committee on organisation was appointed consisting of two labour men, Schilling and Trevellick (the latter being ab

sent), and of a member of the executive committee of the Illinois State Farmers' Association. Notwithstanding this, Horace H. Day protested that the conference was not sufficiently representative of labour, and withdrew. He was apparently already laying plans for the conference of farmers and mechanics, which came together as a result of his efforts a year later.

The convention met in Cleveland on March 11, 1875. It contained representatives from every State in the region bounded by the Hudson, the Ohio, and the Mississippi, and in addition also from Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, and Missouri. The platform was not altered. The name "Independent" was decided upon for the new party, and it retained that name, formally, till 1878. It was from the first, however, known as the Greenback party. The labour men present were Cameron, Schilling, J. H. Wright, McDevitt (a prominent member of the Machinists' and Blacksmiths' Union), Foran (formerly president of the Coopers' Union, now a lawyer), John Siney (president of the Miners' National Association), Reverend H. O. Sheldon, of Oberlin, Ohio, one of the three men who had attended every national labour congress since 1866, and finally a Negro, C. W. Thompson, member of the Tobacco Laborers' Union of Richmond, Virginia. It is significant that practically all of these were labour leaders whose organisations had gone to pieces. Siney and another less important labour man, who was absent, were elected on the executive committee.

The "anti-monopoly " convention called by Horace Day met at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 3, 1875. It was made up of "representatives from all the labour organizations of New York and Pennsylvania, including the Grangers and retail coal dealers," 11 256 in all. It decided to call a national conference of representatives to assemble about the first of July from all parts of the country. It was agreed to leave to the conference itself whether it should organise a new political party or confine its actions to other matters in order to promote the interests of American workingmen.

This conference assembled in Cincinnati, in September, the labour reformers attending in force. Siney was chosen chairThe platform adopted did not differ materially from the


11 New York Times, Mar. 4, 1875.

one adopted by the Independent party at Cleveland; it omitted the plank no longer an issue which declared against the granting of the public lands to any but actual settlers, but included a plank opposing the granting of any privileges to corporations. In addition, it contained a plank that was to be incorporated in every greenback platform until 1879-a demand for the immediate repeal of the specie payment act which had been passed January 14, 1875.

The main discussion turned on whether a new party should be formed or whether fusion should be effected with the Independent party. Day represented the former view, and Siney and Schilling, the latter. Schilling's resolution providing for fusion was adopted. Thereupon Day withdrew and did not afterwards take part in the greenback movement. The fusion was effected, and a call was issued for a national convention to be held in Indianapolis the following May."


The convention met on May 17, 1876. Trevellick, Troup, and Hinchcliffe were the only labour representatives who took part. The proceedings were opened by Moses Field, a wealthy Detroit manufacturer, who had served in the House of Representatives on the Democratic side. Ignatius Donnelly was temporary chairman; Thomas Durant, of Washington, D. C., a lawyer and former Republican politician, was permanent chairman; Wallace P. Groom, editor of the New York Mercantile Journal and a personal representative in the convention of Peter Cooper, was secretary; while S. M. Smith, of the Illinois State Farmers' Association, was acting chairman. This list gives a fair idea of the composition of the convention - farmers, lawyers, and a few labour leaders, with a sprinkling of former old party politicians.

The platform adopted is unmistakable evidence that the greenbackism professed by the party was different from that of the National Labor Union. Instead of a remedy against the exploitation of the "producing classes" by "capital" it became a plan to relieve the industrial depression. It primarily concerned itself, not with the rate of interest on money borrowed, but with the general level of prices. The Independent party declared for the immediate and unconditional repeal of

12 Chicago Workingman's Advocate, Dec. 4, 1875.

the specie resumption act and against the policy of contraction of the greenbacks. The belief is also again expressed that interconvertible "United States notes will afford the best circulating medium ever devised." The emphasis on specie resumption was made largely through the efforts of Groom, who carried a promise of financial assistance to the party from Peter Cooper. 13 Peter Cooper was chosen presidential candidate of the Independent party.14 For vice-president the convention nominated Newton Booth, senator from California, a GreenbackDemocrat, who declined, and in his place the national executive committee chose General Samuel F. Cary, of Ohio, the former congressman supported by the National Labor Union. The national campaign was not conducted with vigour. The party had little organisation and no funds except a sum of money contributed by Cooper. No attempt was made to interest labour organisations. In addition to the national ticket, there were state tickets in every State north of the Virginia line, except Rhode Island and Colorado. Congressional candidates were nominated in thirty-six widely scattered districts.

The total vote cast in the election was about 100,000, and came practically from rural districts. The largest state vote, 17,233, was in Illinois, but only 684 were cast in the counties where the larger cities were located. The aggregate vote in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and West Virginia was 63,000. As yet, labour was indifferent to third-party politics.


The order of the Sovereigns of Industry was the form assumed by the co-operative movement in the seventies. Unlike the movement during the later sixties, it took for its starting

18 Pomeroy's Democrat, Sept. 22, 1877. 14 He was born in New York City in 1791 and started his career as a journey. man carriage maker. Gradually, however, he took up one enterprise after another, with continuous success. In 1830 he established the Canton Iron Works, at Canton, Md., where he constructed from his own designs the first locomotive made in the United States. He built three blast furnaces in Phillipsburg, and conducted other similar enterprises. Deeply inter

ested in the free education of the working class, he gave the money for and laid the cornerstone of the Cooper Union in New York, in 1854, and saw its completion in 1859, to be "forever devoted to the instruction and the improvement of the inhabitants of the United States in practical science and art." He died in New York City in 1883. See his Autobiography in Old South Leaflets, gen. series, VI, No. 147.

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