Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 9: Working for Freedom
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Louis Brandeis
Segment 8
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People all over the country began reading about Lawrence. Most hadn't known about conditions in the mills. Some offered to care for strikers' children. On the forty-third day of the strike, forty children and their parents were gathered at the train station See It Now - Strikers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The children had been invited to Philadelphia, where families had arranged to "adopt" them until the strike was over. Suddenly police appeared. The Boston Common reported it this way: "Police, acting under orders of the city marshal, choked and knocked down the innocent wives and babies of the strikers."

That was too much. Congress investigated. Dr. Elizabeth Shapleigh of Lawrence said that "thirty-six of every hundred of all men and women who work in the mill die before or by the time they are twenty-five years of age." Fourteen-year-old Camella Teoli told of catching her hair in a machine and having it all pulled out. President Taft ordered an investigation of industrial conditions. The mill owners agreed to raise wages, pay overtime, and rehire the strikers. The Bread and Roses strike was over.

But what were the longer-term results of the strike? The I.W.W. was still widely hated, and industry was still eager to fight unions. According to Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis See It Now - Louis Brandeis, "industrial slavery" remained America's foremost social problem. And the right of people to govern themselves, including the right to form unions, was still a pressing agenda in America's quest for freedom.

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Did You Know?
The American Woolen Company's Lawrence, Massachusetts mill was the largest cloth-producing factory in the world at the time—thirty acres under one roof.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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