A History of the American Working Class from Colonial Times to 1890 - Friedrich A. Sorge


Friedrich A. Sorge was the leading Marxist in the United States in the post-Civil War era, an intimate colleague and constant correspondent of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the General Secretary of the International Workingmen’s Association from 1872 to 1874, and a man who was personally involved in many of the events he was discussing in Die Neue Zeit. In short, these articles comprise a basic source for understanding the development of the American labor movement.

Submitted by UseValueNotExc… on June 7, 2023

"A mark of the backwardness of American Marxism, its failure to concern itself with its own working class, is the fact that History of the American Working Class by Frederich Sorge, who lived in the US in the latter Nineteenth Century while remaining one of Marx’s closest co-workers, has never been translated into English from its initial publication in Neue Zeit."
-George Rawick, Working Class Self-Activity (in 1969 before it was translated into English)

Friedrich Adolf Sorge: "Father of Modem Socialism in America" by Philip S. Foner


Chapter 2 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1830-1840
Labor Parties and Strikes for the Ten-Hour Day
Early Factory Workers

Chapter 3 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1840-1850
Utopian Reformer: and Shorter-Hours Advocates
German Immigrants

Chapter 4 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1850-1860
Agitation Over the Slavery Question
Growth of Trade Unions
German Workers’ Movement

Chapter 5 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1860-1866
Ira Steward and William H. Sylvis
Labor Legislation
National Unions and the Beginnings of the National Labor Union

Chapter 6 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1866-1876
Development and Character of the American Bourgeoisie and Its Relations with the Labor Movement
Legislation, Child Labor, and the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics
The "Reformers" and Their Opponents: Ira Steward and the Boston Eight Hour League
The National Labor Union; the Political Movement; Tompkins Square; Trade Union Organizations; the
Eight-Hour Day Movement; and Other Things
The German Workers in the Movement; the International Workingmen's Association, Section I; the New York

Chapter 7 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1877-1885
General; the Greenbackers; the International Labor Union; Molly Maguires and Pinkertons; Henry George; French Canadians; the Negroes
The Trade Unions
The Major Strikes
Female and Child Labor; Legislation; the Administration of Justice
The German Workers and the Socialists
Postscript: The Pleasures and Colonies of the American Bourgeoisie

Chapter 8 THE LABOR MOVEMENT, 1886-1892
The Bomb Throwing in Chicago and the Trial Against Spies and Comrades
The 1886 Henry George Campaign in New York and Its Consequences
Events and Election Campaigns in Other States and Legislation
Eight-Hour Struggles; Strikes and Various Atrocities
The Germans and the Socialists

The Order of the Knights of Labor
The American Federation of Labor


Chapter 11 EPILOGUE

Socialism and the Worker by Friedrich A. Sorge

Edited by Philip S. Foner and Brewster Chamberlin
Introduction by Philip S. Foner
Translated by Brewster Chamberlin and Angela Chamberlin