A Platform for the Labor-Reformers

A Platform for the Labor-Reformers (1870)

After the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, the National Anti-Slavery Standard, continued through 1870 reporting on the advances of the former slave population as well as other progressive movements like Woman Suffrage and Labor Reform. This item ran in the February 19, 1870 issue.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.

A Platform for the Labor-Reformers

At a recent Convention in Natick of the Boston Eight-Hour League, Mrs. Rockwood offered the following resolutions:

  • Resolved, That we congratulate the workingmen of Massachusetts on the great success of our first political effort, which has thrown 14,000 vote and elected twenty-five numbers of the Legislature; valuing this not only for its own sake, but because it secures that thorough discussion of our question by the press upon which our success must finally depend.
  • Resolved, That while we consider the currency, the rate of interest, banking and a protective tariff, subjects of great importance to workingmen, and requiring at a proper time the most thorough discussion, we still believe that the shortening of the hours of labor and thus securing leisure for self-improvement, to be the first measure to be pressed, both on its own account and to prepare the way for co-operation—the only thing which will bring capital and labor into right relation.
  • Resolved, That we urge the friends of the cause that, wherever possible, all facts going to prove the practicability and success of co-operation be communicated to the public journals.
  • Resolved, That we pledge ourselves, and urge on our fellow-workingmen, to make such use of leisure for self-improvement by aid of lectures, libraries, schools and debating-societies, as will show our critics we need only a fair chance to make ourselves full sharers in the culture and development that have hitherto distinguished the capitalist classes.
  • Resolved, That we determine, and urge our friends, to resolve, to stand by and carry out the political movement so well begun.
  • Resolved, That we thank the last Legislature for the establishment of the Labor Commission, recognizing the great aid it will be to our cause, and that we ask the present Legislature to enlarge and continue it.
  • Resolved. That we join hands in the determination to ask all the workingmen of the State to help us make Massachusetts the pioneer State in this great cause wrapped up in what, in our judgment, is the success of republican institutions.

This is a practical and sensible platform, and should be received with respect. The resolutions were adopted. Speeches were made by Merssrs. Carruthers of Lynn, Steward, McNeill, Place and Bates, and Mrs. Rockwood, of Boston. A Mr. Jones sent in a suggestive and encouraging letter.

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