A Working Class History Test
A LABOR DAY QUIZ from the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy
Contact: Peter Kellman 207-676-3356 or Mike Ferner 419-729-7273
A "Working Class History Test" comes just in time for Labor Day from
Maine labor activist and scholar, Peter Kellman.
Kellman compiled his labor quiz while researching "Building Unions:
Past, Present and Future," a handbook he wrote for the Program on
Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD).
"Doing that research really opened my eyes," Kellman said. "This
sure isn't the history we learned in civics class. The story of
working people in this country is the story of our struggle for
democracy. We need to know and remember that."
Answers, Answers, Answers, Answers, Answers:
- In the U.S. it is easy for citizens to form a corporation but
difficult to form a union. Name three countries where workers can
form a union as easily as investors can form a corporation in the U.S.
- In 1770 what percentage of the colonial population lived in slavery?
- At the time of the War of Independence, what percentage of the
people in the colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were
or had been indentured servants?
- Who was the richest man in America in 1776?
- What percent of "We the People" could vote in 1776?
- Who said, "The people who own the country ought to Govern it."?
- What great American document was written behind closed doors in a
meeting in 1787, the minutes of which were made public 53 years
- What were the demands of the Labor Movement in 1830?
- The 14th amendment was passed in 1868 to extend due process and
equal protection to African Americans. In the first 50 years after
its adoption, what percentage of cases brought under it were on
behalf of African Americans, and what percentage on behalf of
- How can five people amend the constitution?
- Whose election to the Presidency of the United States was
determined by a special commission, controlled by the CEO of the
Pennsylvania Railroad, made up of Supreme Court justices and members
of Congress? When did that President pull the last Federal troops
from the south ending Reconstruction and use those troops to put
down the first national labor strike in the United States in which
over 100 strikers were killed?
- In 1886 the largest labor organization in the United States was
the Knights of Labor. What issues did it advocate?
- When was the labor movement politically powerful enough to
prevent a Governor and the President from sending troops to break up
a strike in which workers occupied corporate property?
- In many countries, benefits like paid maternity leave; maximum
hours of work, health care, and vacations are defined by law. What
do workers in these countries have that they don't have in the
- Sweden, Germany, Italy, Japan, Ireland and more.
- George Washington
- John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- The Constitution
- The 10 hour day and public education
- African Americans: .5%, corporations: 50%.
- By becoming U.S. Supreme Court Justices
- Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877
- Producer, consumer and distributive cooperatives, prohibition of
child labor, equal pay for equal work between the sexes and races,
universal suffrage and the eight-hour day. They believed that when a few
people controlled most of the wealth they would use their
economic power to prevent the creation of a real democracy.
- Strong working-class political parties