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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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A City of Industrial and Religious Extremes

A City of Industrial and Religious Extremes

(p.21) Chapter 1 A City of Industrial and Religious Extremes
Redeeming Time

William A. Mirola

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the case of Chicago and nineteenth-century Protestantism, the development of factions within the eight-hour movement, and the relationship between labor reformers, employers, and Protestant clergy in the city. Beneath the manifest economic and political conflicts that characterized Chicago's eight-hour movement was a debate between workers, employers, and clergy over the religious and moral significance of redeeming time through shorter hours for labor. In the development of their respective rhetoric in this debate, eight-hour advocates and employers fought over whether the hours of labor carried any religious significance whatsoever. Clergy responded to the struggles for reform from their positions as embedded community leaders. Indeed, Protestant values about work, leisure, and community relations shaped how clergy approached local eight-hour conflicts and provided the basis for initially opposing shorter hours but also for their later support for the movement.

Keywords:   Chicago, Protestantism, eight-hour movement, labor reformers, Protestant clergy, Protestant values

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