American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

1877: The Grand Army of Starvation

A nationwide rebellion brought the United States to a standstill in the summer of 1877. Eighty thousand railroad workers walked out, joined by hundreds of thousands of Americans outraged by the excesses of the railroad companies and the misery of a four-year economic depression. Police, state militia, and federal troops clashed with strikers and sympathizers, leaving more than one hundred dead and thousands injured. The Great Uprising inaugurated a new era of conflict over the meaning of America in the industrial age. (Length: 30 minutes)

“All together, its substance, dramatic impact, and restricted length make it an ideal tool for introducing the themes of industrialization, labor conflict, immigration and ethnicity, and popular culture into a UnitedStates history survey course. . . . [T]his is an excellent documentary, with a powerful analytic sweep and pedagogical impact.”
—Leon Fink, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago

Viewer’s Guide (.pdf)

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