Episode 6: 1877: The Great Strike and the Red Specter of the Commune (Part Two)

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When a railroad employee walks off the job in Baltimore, it triggers a violent chain of events that engulfs the industrialized North. From Pittsburgh to San Francisco, city after city erupts in rioting and street battles as railroad men, factory workers, and the unemployed take on militias, paramilitary groups, and the US Army in a spontaneous revolt against the new industrial order. Railyards burn and urban neighborhoods become battlegrounds. Pundits, politicians, corporate leaders, socialists, and union leaders hail the birth of an exterminationist class war. And through the smoke, the dawn of a new era can be glimpsed…

Inward Empire theme by Stephen Spencer.




Michael Bellesiles, 1877: America’s Year of Living Violently. New York: The New Press, 2010.

Jeremy Brecher, Strike! Revised, Expanded, and Updated Edition. Oakland: PM Press, 2014.

Robert Bruce, 1877: Year of Violence. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1959.

Philip Foner, The Great Labor Uprising of 1877. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1977.

Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era. New York: Norton, 1987.

Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War. New Haven & London, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.

Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture & Society in the Gilded Age. New York: Hill & Wang, 1982.


Joseph Dacus, Annals of the Great Strike. Chicago: L.T. Palmer & Co, 1877.

Rutherford B Hayes, The Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes, Nineteenth President of the United States, edited by Charles Richard Williams.Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society 1922

Allan Pinkerton, Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Detectives. New York: GW Carleton, 1878.


One thought on “Episode 6: 1877: The Great Strike and the Red Specter of the Commune (Part Two)

  1. Enjoying listening to this episode especially since it is geographically where I grew up. Cumberland, Keyer (pronounced “kaiser”) are both located on the Potomac river. I lived in Keyser.

    Liked by 1 person

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