The Industrial Birth of Labor Day

In Ponder this on September 7, 2009 at 9:00 am

j0441284In honor of Labor Day, I thought it would be good to trace the roots of the holiday.  “As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced,” (history.com).  These working conditions consumed most of the 19th century.

Throughout this time strikes were common place and brought the horrible working conditions to the public eye.  The last straw, the boycott of the Pullman Railway Car by the American Railroad Union in 1894, caused congress to enact the first official Labor Day.  This holiday for workers would fall on the first Monday of September.

This tradition has more recently been accompanied by the widespread ideal that Labor Day weekend is the last hoorah of summer.  No matter the root or the current seasonal celebration of the day, Labor Day helps remind us of the hard work that has gone into this country and the industries within.

People have risked lives, ideals, and money to build the America we know and take advantage of today.  As a musician, I strive to appreciate the effort it has taken to build the freedoms and the infrastructure that exist.  Without them I would not be able to peaceably create music and have the freedom to share it with the people around me.

Continue to labor for your passions – whether it be politics, dance, marketing, nursing, computers, art, teaching or music… don’t ever give up!  But, this day also teaches us that it is OK to take some time off… the train on which we labor will come around tomorrow.  There is a season for everything – a time to work and a time to rest… take today to rest and renew so that you can continue to devote your life to your dreams!

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  1. This is very interesting! I see where Americans seem to get work ethic from. Not much has changed since the 1800s. Work, work, work 24/7!

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