The 1877 Strike That Brought US Railroads to a Standstill

The 1877 strike that brought us railroads to a standstill

In the summer of 1877, the United States experienced its first multistate railroad strike. Beginning in West Virginia, the strike quickly spread to other parts of the country and even escalated into a general strike in some cities. The protest involved some 100,000 workers, making it the largest in the country’s history at the time, and disrupted major railway lines.

Railroad companies and elected officials ended the strike by sending militias to attack the workers, resulting in around 1,000 arrests and 100 deaths. Although workers in some towns won small gains by striking or threatening to join the strike, the 1877 uprising did not lead to widespread victories for railroad workers.

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