The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Student Activity Seven: Guided Reading #2:
Comparing the Homestead Strike of 1892 with the Great Strike of 1877


  • Classroom United States history text
  • Dictionary
  • Transcriptions from Buffalo Morning Express:

Activity Directions :

Carefully read Document #8, Leader of '77. Then, use Document #8, other resources (text, dictionary, etc.) and your knowledge of social studies to answer the following questions based on the document. Put your answers in your own words; supply examples from the document when asked to "support your answer with evidence."

  1. A subtitle of this article is "Some Reminiscences."  What does it mean to reminisce?
  2. Who was Robert A. Ammon in 1877?
  3. Describe Robert A. Ammon in 1892.  Include his occupation.
  4. Definition - Primary Source: (1) an official document (e.g. license;legislation; report card); (2) eye or ear witness account (e.g. letters; journal entries; interviews; oral histories); or (3) physical remains (e.g. photographs; clothing; furniture) that provides information about an event or time period and is from the period.

    Using this definition, why is this document considered a "primary source"? Under what category or categories might it be classified?
  5. What action(s) taken by the railroads in 1877 resulted in the workers going on strike?
  6. What did the railroads believe would prevent a general strike of the railroad workers?
  7. List three reasons the strike was initially (at first) successful in Pennsylvania.
  8. Why did the Philadelphia troops use force against the strikers?
  9. How did the strikers force the Philadelphia troops out of their attack post?
  10. "...the road had to capitulate and to give us the extra 10 per cent..."  What does the word capitulate mean?
  11. A Mr. Frick is mentioned in the interview. Who is he, and what is his role in the Homestead Steel Company or the strike? Who is his boss (the owner of the company)?
  12. According to Mr. Ammon, what is Mr. Frick's goal? What will happen to labor unions if he succeeds?
  13. What actions does Mr. Ammon feel the workers in the Homestead Strike should take?
  14. According to Mr. Ammon, what would improve conditions between labor (workers) and management or business owners? Put your answer in your own words.
  15. The Great Strike of 1877 involved railroads; the Homestead Strike of 1892 involved steel production. How are these two industries important to the industrial growth of the United States?
  16. In this interview, Mr. Ammon compares the Railroad Strike of 1877 with the Homestead Strike of 1892. Make a chart in your notebook or on another piece of paper; create two columns, one for each strike. Then, compare the two strikes in the following categories:
    • industry involved;
    • specific companies involved;
    • company owners;
    • type of workers involved;
    • company actions resulting in work stoppage;
    • actions taken by workers;
    • actions taken by business owners;
    • identification of important individuals involved in the event;
    • results of the strike.

    Use information from this document (interview) first to fill in your chart. Next, use any other sources to complete your comparison.
  17. In a well written essay, explain why the Great Strike of 1877 and the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 are considered important in labor history. How did each strike positively or negatively affect the labor movement in the United States?

    Use other paper for your answer. Support your position with specific evidence.


Last Updated: March 18, 2014