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Redeeming TimeProtestantism and Chicago's Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912$
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William A. Mirola

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038839

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038839.001.0001

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Protestantism and Labor Reform Movements

Protestantism and Labor Reform Movements

(p.1) Introduction Protestantism and Labor Reform Movements
Redeeming Time

William A. Mirola

University of Illinois Press

This introductory chapter discusses the central issue that generated a movement within the labor movement: overwork and the hours of labor. Shortening the workday and reducing the workweek were umbrella issues for the American labor movement. Reducing the hours of labor linked a host of other industrial reforms and spawned a class-based consciousness among American workers that no other issue had done previously or since. As such, the eight-hour day was salient to native-born and immigrant workers, to labor radicals and conservatives, to the skilled and unskilled, and to men and women, and Chicago's workers were at the center of it all. Indeed, overwork and long hours were the basis for some of the most contentious conflicts between employers and their workers in Chicago, and they forced Protestant clergy, willing or no, to engage the labor question.

Keywords:   labor movement, overwork, workday, workweek, American labor movement, industrial reforms, eight-hour day, Chicago workers, Protestant clergy, labor question

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