The Strike

This article from the July 23, 1877 edition of the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat condemns the recent actions of the railroad strikers and hopes that the city can avoid a repeat of the violence in Pittsburgh, where the mob has "pillaged and burned and murdered in the carnival of crime."

The Strike

The course of the railroad strike during the last two days has been a sad fulfillment of the anticipations we expressed on Saturday, and the prospect justifies not less gloomy anticipations in the immediate future. The terrible scenes in Pittsburg, which have disgraced our civilization, are merely a sample of the excesses to which reckless and irresponsible criminals are ready to urge on the mob; and we need hardly say that the movement in Pittsburgh and elsewhere has passed out of the hands of those who started it, into the hands of those who are only too ready to take it up and carry it on for the worst of purposes.

There is no great city in the Union which does not count its thousands of hungry and hopeless workmen, their once strong frames reduced by privation, their decent clothing replaced by tatters, and their wives and children reflecting at home the squalid misery of the father who haunts the streets in the vain search for work. These poor men do not know what power it is which has struck them down and blighted their lives, but they see the sharp contrast between their suffering and the splendor of the rich; they have been made desparate by want, they are ready to follow any leader, and thanks to the unhappy condition of the times, they want neither leaders nor re-enforcement. Their leaders come from the strikers of the trades-union, their re-enforcements from the mob who have pillaged and burned and murdered in the carnival of crime at Pittsburgh.

There is no city in the Union which is not exposed to the disaster which has befallen Pittsburgh, and it need only a little bad management to renew the conflict which has stricken that city. Of course, pillage and riot can accomplish nothing final, and the end must be the assertion of authority the restoration of law and order. This is the inevitable conclusion, and the more quickly it is reached the better, but we trust that it is not neccessary to invite and repeat the scenes of Pittsburgh before accomplishing this. While we do feel a sympathy for men who are sorely tried by hopeless poverty, and we call on those in authority to make a wise and just allowance for all the aspects of the situation. The enforcement of the law demands neither vindictiveness nor revenge, and we have an abiding faith in the manhood of the American workman a belief that if he is treated as a man he will act as a man under any circumstances.

About this Document

  • Source: St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat
  • Citation: page 4
  • Date: July 23, 1877