The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Document 2A: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Strike

Albany Argus masthead
scanned image of newspaper article

Transcription of
The Albany Argus:
Friday, July 20, 1877, Vol. LI., No. 18.984

Editorial: THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD STRIKE
(original spellings & punctuation maintained)

The "strike" on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad has assumed national importance. The strikers at one point on the road assumed entire possession and control of the property. This point is Martinsburg, Western Virginia. In that State there are no enrolled and equipped militia that can be called into service by the Governor in case of an emergency, and consequently a demand has been made upon the Federal government for troops to put down the mob. The situation is one that will be deplored by all good citizens. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad managers had determined to reduce the pay of their employes ten percent. This reduction had been made and had been acceded to upon all the great trunk railroad lines, and the road in question found it necessary to take a similar course. Instead of acquiescence on the part of the employes, force was used to prevent the movement of trains. All freight business was suspended, so that traffic on the route was practically at an end. All ordinary attempts to put down the mob failed. Officers of the law were jeered at, and the Governor of the State was insulted and stoned.

It would appear that the revolt of the Molly Maguires in the coal districts, and the terrible end which overtook a dozen or more of the leaders there, would have had its lesson in this case. But the folly of the extreme trade union system has been repeated in the face of such dreadful example. Lives have been sacrificed again, and a vast amount of injury has been inflicted upon property and business.

It is to be hoped that the proclamation of the President will have the desired effect to disperse the mob. Unless there is obedience to law and the restoration of order, fearful results must follow. An example must be made of such unjustifiable acts. It would have been gratifying if the railroad company could have increased the pay of its employes [sic], instead of the reverse, but business depression is felt in all circles, and submission to the inevitable cannot be avoided.

The government cannot act too promptly in this matter, while using all due moderation toward the misguided men who have been led into this criminal proceeding. The leaders deserve punishment. It is to be hoped that it may be a long time before the country will be disgraced by such another spectacle.

Last Updated: January 17, 2012