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


Printed Materials

Robert V. Bruce, 1877: Year of Violence (Chicago: Ivan Dee, 1959).
A somewhat dated but quite well-written and well-documented account.

Philip S. Foner, The Great Labor Uprising of 1877 (New York: Monad Press, 1977). The standard history of the Great Strike of 1877, written from a generally pro-labor position. Beware that many citations in the notes are inaccurate.

Bruce Lesh, "Using Primary Sources to Teach the Rail Strike of 1877." OAH Magazine of History 13(4): 38-47. Useful lesson plan incorporating primary sources.

Walter Licht, Industrializing America: The Nineteenth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). An accessible and concise history of industrialization in America.

Stephan Thernstrom, A History of the American People, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Javonovich, 1989). Sweeping overview of American social history.


Stephen Brier, producer, 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation (Wycoff, N.J.: American Social History Project, 1987). Part of the Who Built America series. A compelling, 30-minute-long video.

Online Resources

Viewer's Guide for 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation. Brief, heavily illustrated account of the strike to accompany the video produced by CUNY's American Social History Project.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Library's Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Labor Legacy project. Consists of a series of stereoview cards showing the aftermath of the strike in Pittsburgh.

Richard Olson's The Strike of 1877. Includes primary sources, a listing of relevant national history standards, and additional resources.

Edward C. Papenfuse's The Baltimore Railroad Strike and Riot of 1877, hosted by the Maryland State Archives. Includes a set of primary source documents, classroom exercises, and suggested reading and viewing.