Module 05: Industrialization and Its Discontents: The Great Strike of 1877

Evidence 15: Women Battle With Police in Baltimore, 1878

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In many communities, women played an important role in the strike, a fact newspapers frequently noted. In joining the protests, women openly challenged norms of appropriate behavior for their gender. During the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans generally believed that women should confine their activities largely to the domestic sphere, or the home. Working-class women, of course, often had to work outside the home to help make ends meet. When they engaged in public protests and clashed with legal authorities, however, they faced almost universal condemnation.

The engraving below reveals how women who participated in the Great Strike of 1877 were typically portrayed.

Questions to Consider

  • How did the artist depict women strikers?

  • How did the artist depict the police?

  • What was the overall message of the illustration?


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Allen Pinkerton, Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton, 1878), 194.

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