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Homestead Strike: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1892, a violent strike led to the government interceding on behalf of a corporation against a union. This guide provides access to materials related to the “1892 Homestead Strike” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"The entry of the vanguard of state troops upon the scene of recent strike." July 13, 1892. Pittsburg Dispatch (Pittsburg, PA), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In 1892, the Carnegie Steel Company in Homestead, Pennsylvania discharged workers from the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers Union. A bloody confrontation ensued between the workers and the hired Pinkerton security guards, ultimately killing 16 people and causing many injuries. The subsequent strike lasted for over four months. The militia marched into Homestead, Congress held hearings in Homestead, thirty-three steel workers were charged with treason, and anarchist Alexander Birkman attempted to assassinate Carnegie Steel Company Chairman Henry Clay Frick. Ultimately, the Amalgated Association union voted to end restrictions on working at the Carnegie Steel Company, leaving the union virtually destroyed. The strike inspired workers, but it highlighted how difficult it was for unions to challenge the combined power of corporations and the government. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

July 6, 1892 A violent confrontation breaks out between steelworkers and Pinkerton guards hired by the Carnegie Steel company.
July 12, 1892 The Pennsylvania State Militia marches into Homestead.
July 12-14, 1892 A committee of the US Congress holds hearings in Homestead.
July 23, 1892 Anarchist Alexander Berkman attempts to assassinate Carnegie Chairman Henry Clay Frick.
September 30, 1892 Thirty-three steelworkers are charged with treason.
October 21, 1892 President of the American Federation of Labor Samuel Gompers visits the Amalgamated Association.
November 21, 1892 The Amalgamated Association votes to end its restrictions on working at the Carnegie Steel Company.